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OSMANU UNIVERSITY UBRARr 

Call No.*^ , ^ /^ < - A< *in No. 2 

Author 
Title 

This book should be returned on or before the date last marked below, 



THUNDER OUT OF CHINA 



THUNDER OUT OF CHINA 

For years the authors, as members 
of the Chungking bureau of Time, 
had a special opportunity to observe 
and report, and their deep enthusi- 
asm for tje Chinese people has 
taken them far outside the ordinary 
confines of Far Eastern reporting. 
Here are the roots and reasons 
for the civil war that has been 
gnawing China's vitals ; here is the 

record of the United States' un- 

* 

successful attempt to formulate a 
China policy and bring order out of 
chaos. Here is an intimate and 
warm appraisal of one of the great- 
est American generals "Uncle 
Joe" Stilwell and a much less 
tender estimate of Ambassador 
Hurley in action. Here are the 
campaigns, in jungle and rice-field 
and mountains, which wasted 
Japan's strength. Above all, here is 
the portrait of 500,000,000 Chinese 
people, eager for a new world, 
swamped in their government's 
bureaucratic weakness, and torn 
apart by civil war. 



THUNDER OUT OF CHINA 

by 

THEODORE H. WHITE 

and 

ANNALEE JACOBY 



LONDON 

VICTOR GOLLANGZ LTD 

1947 



To 
DAVID H. WHITE 



PRINTED IN CHEAT BRITAIN BY PURNBLL AND SONS, LTD. (T,U ( ) 
PAULTON (SOMSaSXT) AND LONDON 



CONTENTS 



A Note To the Reader page 6 

Introduction 7 

Chapter i. Chungking, a Point in Time 13 

a. The Peasant 28 

3. The Rise of the Kuomintang 40 

4. War 53 

5. Stalemate 71 

6. Campaign in the South Seas 84 

7. Government by Trustee 97 

8. Chiang K'ai-shek The People's Choice? 116 

9. Doomed Men The Chinese Army 128 

10. Stilwell'sWar 140 

11. The Honan Famine 159 

12. Disaster in the East 171 

13. The Chinese Communists 188 

14. The Stilwell Crisis 202 

15. Politics in Yenan 213 

1 6. Patrick J. Hurley 228 

17. 1945 The Year of the Great Promise 240 

1 8. Utopia Stillborn 251 

19. Victory and Civil War 259 

20. China and the Future 276 

21. Tentatively, Then? . . . 286 
Index 301 
Maps 

China (End Paper) 

Stilwell's Strategy 15 J 

East China Campaign i?4 

5 



A NOTE TO THE READER 

THIS BOOK is the product of two minds, and almost all 
the chapters are the result of the closest collaboration between 
the two authors. Sometimes only one of us was present to observe 
and report the events noted, and in such cases the first person 
singular in a few chapters refers to Theodore H. White. 

We wish to thank many people for their aid in reading, editing, 
and preparing this manuscript for publication. Among those who 
have assisted most are Jack Belden, Robert Machol, Margaret 
Durdin, Nancy Bean, Carol Whitmore, and Gladys White, who 
have helped enormously in weeding out the errors in the book. 
Such errors as may remain and the conclusions and opinions 
expressed here are, however, our responsibility. 

We wish further to acknowledge our thanks to Time In- 
corporated for permission to reproduce material and portions of 
dispatches that we sent to them in our capacity as staff cor- 
respondents. The opinions and conclusions of this book are, 
however, the opinions and conclusions of the two authors and in 
no sense reflect the policy or opinions of Time Incorporated. We 
also thank the Associated Press for permission to reproduce its first 
dispatch announcing the attack on Pearl Harbour. 

The maps for this book have been graciously prepared by Frank 
Stockman, Anthony Sodaro, and Allan McNab. 

T. H.W. and A.]. 
August 15, 1946 



INTRODUCTION 

No LAST SHOT was fired in this war; there was no last 
stand, no last day dividing peace from strife. Half a dozen radio 
stations scattered about the face of the globe crackled sparks of 
electricity from capital to capital and into millions of humble 
homes; peace came through the air and was simultaneous over all 
the face of the earth. The great ceremony on the battleship 
Missouri in Tokyo Bay was anticlimax, an obsolete rite performed 
with primitive ceremony for a peace that had not come and a war 
that had not ended. 

The greatest fleet in the world lay amidst the greatest ruins in 
the world under a dark and cheerless canopy of clouds. The U.S.S. 
Iowa was on one side of the Missouri^ the U.S.S. South Dakota on 
the other. A tattered flag with thirty-one stars was hung on one 
of the turrets 6f the battleship the flag of the infant republic, 
which Commodore Perry brought with him to the same bay 
almost a hundred years before. Above the mainmast fluttered 
the battle flag of the Union of today. The deck was crowded with 
the apostles of the American genius the technicians. There were 
technicians of heavy bombardment, technicians of tactical 
bombardment, technicians of amphibious landings, technicians 
of carrier-borne war. These men were artists at the craft of 
slaughter, trained to perfection by four years of war. The ship 
itself was the apotheosis of all American skills, from the cobweb 
of radar at the foretop above the grey slabs of armour, carefully 
compounded of secret and mysterious alloys, below. It was an 
American show. There were a Russian with a red band about his 
cap and a Tass newsreel man who insisted on crawling in among 
the main actors to get his shots; there was a Canadian general 
who flubbed his part and signed on the wrong line; there was a 
carefully tailored Chinese general who had spent the war in 
Chungking, where he disposed tired divisions on paper about a 
continental map. These too were technicians, but they were lost 
in the serried ranks of American khaki and white. The victory 



in the Pacific had been a severely technical victory, and, as 
befitted the world's greatest masters of technique, we overawed 
all others. 

The Japanese supplied the one touch of humanity. Haifa dozen 
Japanese were piped over the side of the Missouri, but for the 
purposes of history and in every man's memory there were only 
two the general, Umezu, and the statesman, Shigemitsu. Umezu 
was dressed in parade uniform, all his ribbons glistening, his eyes 
blank, but you could see the brown pockmarks on his cheeks 
swelling and falling in emotion. Shigemitsu was dressed in a tall 
silk hat and a formal morning coat as if he were attending a 
wedding or a funeral. He had a wooden leg, and he limped along 
the deck; when he began to clamber to the veranda deck where 
the peace was to be signed, he clutched the ropes and struggled 
up with infinite pain and discomfort. With savage satisfaction 
everyone watched Shigemitsu struggling up the steps; no 
American offered a hand to help the crippled old man. 

Shigemitsu and Umezu were brought forward, and after a few 
carefully chosen words beautifully spoken by General Mac Arthur, 
they signed their names to a document marking an end to the 
Japanese Empire. Now Shigemitsu and Umezu were both 
technicians; if anyone had asked them why they had lost, why 
they were being forced to sign an end to all their world, they 
would have advanced a dozen cogent reasons wrapped up in 
figures on tonnages, metals, guns, divisions, alliances, and ill- 
timed decisions. All their reasons would have been valid to 
specialists. Probably neither Shigemitsu nor Umezu ever enter- 
tained for a moment the thought that they might have lost because 
what they had conceived was so hideously wicked that it generated 
its own defeat. When they had signed, the generals and admirals 
of all the other nations put their signatures to the document, and 
peace, if peace it was, had come. 

This victory had been an American victory, one achieved by an 
overwhelming weight of metal, guns, and superior technique, 
which had crushed Japan utterly and completely. But there was 
no indication at the moment of victory on the Missouri, or in the 
days of defeat before victory, or in the days of exuberance after 
it, that America understood the war she had been fighting in the 
Pacific. We had been threatened out of the darkness of the Orient; 
we had recognized the threat as something indescribably malevo- 
lent and had fashioned a steamroller that crushed it to extinction. 



But we had never stopped to inquire from what sources the threat 
had been generated. 

America's war had cut blindly across the course of the greatest 
revolution in the history of mankind, the revolution of Asia. We 
had temporarily lanced one of the pressure heads and released 
some of the tension by an enormous letting of blood. But the basic 
tensions and underlying pressures were still there, accumulating 
for new crises. Peace did not follow victory. All through Asia 
men continued to kill each other; they continue to do so today and 
will be doing so for a long time to come. 

In Asia there are over a billion people who are tired of the world 
as it is ; they live literally in such terrible bondage that they have 
nothing to lose but their chains. They are so cramped by ignorance 
and poverty that to write down a description of their daily life 
would make an American reader disbelieve the printed word. In 
India a human being has an average life expectancy of twenty- 
seven years. In China half the people die before they reach the age 
of thirty. Everywhere in Asia life is infused with a few terrible 
certainties hunger, indignity, and violence. In war and peace, 
in famine and in glut, a dead human body is a common sight on 
open highway or city street. In Shanghai collecting the lifeless 
bodies of child labourers at factory gates in the morning is a 
routine affair. The beating, whipping, torture, and humiliation 
of the villagers of Asia by officials and gendarmes is part of the 
substance of government authority. These people live by the sweat 
of their brow; they live on what they can scratch out of exhausted 
soils by the most primitive methods with the most savage invest- 
ment of their sinew and strength. When the weather turns against 
them, nothing can save them from death by hunger. Less than a 
thousand years ago Europe lived this way; then Europe revolted 
against the old system in a series of bloody wars that lifted it 
generation by generation to what we regard as civilization. The 
people of Asia are now going through the same process. 

History books devote too much of their attention to the study of 
successful revolutions. When huge masses of people erupt out of 
misery, in bloodshed and violence, to make their lives better, they 
are usually greeted by the horror and vituperation of con- 
temporary historians. Only time makes such uprisings respectable. 
When uprisings fail and a superficial stability is re-established, the 
stability is regarded as something fine and gratifying. Beneath 
such stability, however, the miseries, tensions, pressures, and fears 



of the abortive revolution continue, growing inward in a tortured 
pattern of violence. The people's suppressed passions are seduced 
by false slogans and phrases, and they are easily led into disastrous 
adventures against the peace of the entire world. This is what 
happened in Japan. 

The war we fought against Japan was a war against the end 
result of a revolution that had failed. A hundred years ago the 
impact of the West on China and Japan started the wheels of 
revolution turning. For generations it was customary to think that 
Japan had made a successful transition into the modern world and 
that China had failed. That was wrong; Japan's revolution failed 
within fifteen years of Perry's arrival in Tokyo Bay. It was seized 
by the feudal, reactionary-minded leaders of Japan's Middle Ages, 
and its energies were twisted into the structure of the Japanese 
Empire as we knew it in 1941 a society that could not solve its 
own, problems except by aggression against the world, an aggres- 
sion in which it was doomed. Out of the misery latent in the 
villages of Japan and the regimentation of her workers, the leaders 
of Japan bred disaster for everyone. The very chaos that has 
persisted in China for a hundred years has proved that the revolu- 
tionary surge of the Chinese people against their ancient un- 
happiness is too strong for any grouf) to control and distort. 

The war Japan fought against us was one in which the Japanese 
were beaten from the outset. They were led by military technicians 
who had only a jungle understanding of politics; they were 
defeated by superior military technicians who had as little 
understanding of politics but incomparably greater treasure in 
steel and science. By defeating Japan, however, we did not make 
peace. The same revolutionary forces that miscarried in Japan are 
still operating everywhere else in Asia. Throughout that continent 
men are still trying to free themselves from their past of hunger 
and suffering. 

The forces of change are working more critically and more ex- 
plosively in China than anywhere else on the entire continent. The 
peace of Asia and our own future security depend on our under- 
standing how powerful these forces are, what creates them, and 
what holds them back. Except for General Joseph Stilwell, no 
Allied military commander seems to have understood that this 
was the fundamental problem of the war in the Orient. Stilwell 
had no ideology but he understood that in fighting the war we 
were outlining the peace at the same time. He understood that 
10 



both victory and peace rested on the measure with which the 
strength of the people could be freed from feudal restraints. He 
arrived at his policy empirically by exposure to Chinese life in the 
field; it was not supported by the American government, and he 
was relieved of command; but his relief from command is a mark 
of greater glory than any he won on the field of battle. 

This book is a partial story of the China war; only a Chinese 
can write the true history of his people. The story of the China war 
is the story of the tragedy of Chiang K'ai-shek, a man who mis- 
understood the war as badly as the Japanese or the Allied 
technicians of victory. Chiang could not understand the re- 
volution whose creature he was except as something fearful and 
terrible that had to be crushed. He had every favouring grace on 
his side the support of powerful allies, the cause of justice, and in 
the beginning the whole hearted and enthusiastic support of all his 
people. The people whom he led felt instinctively that this war 
against Japan was a war against the entire rotten fabric of time- 
worn misery. When Chiang tried to fight the Japanese and 
preserve the old fabric at the same time, he was not only unable 
to defeat the Japanese but powerless to preserve his own authority. 
His historic enemies, the Communists, grew from an army of 
85,000 to an army of a million, from the governors of 1,500,000 
peasants to the masters of 90,000,000. The Communists used no 
magic; they knew the changes the people wanted, and they 
sponsored these changes. Both parties lied, cheated, and broke 
agreements ; but the Communists had the people with them, and 
with the people they made their own new justice. When the 
might of American technique moved to support Chiang K'ai-shek 
in the final year of the war, not even America could recapture 
for him the power that had been his in the first glorious year of 
the war of national resistance. 



ii 



CHAPTER I 

CHUNGKING, A POINT IN TIME 

CHUNGKING, CHINA'S WARTIME capital, is marked on 
no man's map. The place labelled Chungking is a sleepy town 
perched on a cliff that rises through the mists above the Yangtze 
River to the sky; so long as the waters of the Yangtze flow down 
to the Pacific, that river town will remain. The Chungking of 
history was a point in time, a temporal bivouac with an extra- 
geographical meaning, like Munich or Versailles. It was an 
episode shared by hundreds of thousands of people who had 
gathered in the shadow of its walls out of a faith in China's 
greatness and an overwhelming passion to hold the land against 
the Japanese. Men great and small, noble and corrupt, brave and 
cowardly, convened there for a brief moment; they are all gone 
home now. London, Paris, Moscow, and Washington are great 
cities still, centres of command and decision; the same great names 
live on in them, the s,ame friends meet at old familiar rendezvous. 
But Chungking was a function of war alone, a point in time ; it is 
dead, and the great hopes and lofty promises with which it once 
kindled all China are dead with it. 

History made Chungking the capital of China at war because 
by tradition, logic, and compulsion there was no other choice. 
For centuries it had been famous as the key city of the key province 
of the hinterland. The Yangtze, the great river of China, is 
pinched almost in two by the narrow rock gorges that separate 
central China from the interior; Chungking is the first large city 
above the gorges, a bastion that frowns on any attempt to force 
entrance into the west by river. Commercially and politically it 
dominates the province of Szechwan, which in turn dominates 
all western China. Szechwan Four Rivers is a huge triangle of 
land, larger in area and population than France or Britain. It has 
lived behind its forbidding mountain barriers as a law unto itself 
throughout Chinese history. In winter the province is moist and 
chilly, in summer warm and humid. Some of the richest mineral 
resources and some of the most fertile land in China lie within 
its mountains. Everything grows in Szechwan and grows well 



sugar, wheat, rice, oranges, azaleas, poppies, vegetables. The 
Chinese have a saying that whatever grows anywhere in China 
grows better in Szechwan. 

Its remoteness and self-sufficiency set the province apart from 
the main stream of national events. It figures in legend and 
history as a mystic land far back of beyond. Actually Szechwan 
fulfilled by its backwardness its most important function; its 
people were usually the last in Chinese history to give allegiance 
to each new dynasty, the hardest to administer from Peking, the 
reservoir of strength in successive revolts against alien rule, an 
anchor against disaster. It was, for example, from Szechwan that 
the republican revolution against the Manchus burst into central 
China in 1911, caught the attention of the world, and touched 
off the generation of change out of which modern China was born. 
But afterwards Szechwan, unnoticed, went its own way for twenty- 
five long years; it did not pursue the revolution but dissolved into 
anarchy. The troops of its war lords, trailing disease and terror 
from valley to valley, laid it waste. As the old system of govern- 
ment withered away, the war lords assumed complete sway over 
the lives of the peasants and fought among themselves wars that 
were as comic and barbarous as any ever recorded. The war lords 
were colourful figures; they lived joyfully with many concubines 
in great mansions, waxed fat on- the opium trade, extorted taxes 
from the peasantry sometimes fifty years in advance, wrung land 
from the original owners to add to their own estates. In the process 
they became great manorial barons, full of wealth and pride. 

By the middle 1930*8 a master war lord named Liu Hsiang had 
subjugated the others by a combination of guile and force, much 
as Chiang K'ai-shek had done in unifying the rest of China; when 
the Japanese struck in 1937, Szechwan was knit together by a 
network of semi-feudal alliances securely controlled from 
Chungking by General Liu. Within this war-lord federation 
secret societies flourished along the river valleys. The cities reeked 
of opium; cholera, dysentery, syphilis, and trachoma rotted the 
health of the people. Industry was almost non-existent, education 
was primitive; two so-called colleges and one first-class mission 
university alone served the province's 50,000,000 people. The 
peasants of western China worked their fields as their fathers and 
forefathers had done before them; their horizons reached only as 
far as the next market town. When Japan attacked China, the 
war lords of Szechwan gave full allegiance to Chiang K'ai-shek, 

14 



but to their curious way of thinking this effected merely an 
alliance between themselves and Chiang against the Japanese, 
rather than an integration and subordination of their indepen- 
dence to anyone else's command. When the Japanese drove inland, 
the province accepted the new refugees as exiles and regarded 
the new national capital, in Chungking, as a guest government. 

The city taken over by the Central Government as its house of 
exile was known even in China as a uniquely unpleasant place. 
For six months of the year a pall of fog and rain overhangs it and 
coats its alleys with slime. Chungking stands on a tongue of land 
licking out into the junction of the Yangtze and Chialing Rivers; 
the water level swells 60 to 90 feet during flood seasons and yearly 
wipes out the hopeful fringe of shacks that mushroom along the 
river's edge. Chungking grew up in service to an economy of 
thousands of peasant villages ; it bought their rice, meat, and silk 
and provided them with thread, cloth, and kerosene. It was a 
rural city, and its sounds and smells were those of a great feudal 
village. The wall of old Chungking encircles the peninsula from 
its tip at the river junction to the crest of the spiny ridge where the 
city opens out into the backland. The wall was built, the natives 
say, about five centuries ago; it stands almost intact today, its 
nine great gates still channelling traffic. When the bombings of 
Chungking began in 1 939, one of the gates was still barred every 
evening by the night watchman. Eight of the nine gates opened 
out on the cliffs overlooking the river, but the ninth gave entrance 
by land ; this was the Tung Yuan Men, the Gate Connecting with 
Distant Places. The old imperial road used to leave Chungking 
through the Tung Yuan Men and follow the valleys to Chengtu; 
thence it lifted over the northern mountains to Sian and continued 
deviously to Peking. Now the main motor road to western China 
pierces the walls a hundred yards from Tung Yuan Men, but the 
beggars still cluster by the shadowy old archway, and the peddlers 
sell shoelaces and tangerines by its worn steps. 

Almost all there was of Chungking before the war lay within 
the wall. Two hundred thousand people cramped themselves into 
this meagre area. The few rich men in the community, war lords, 
great bankers, and rich landlords, had private and palatial homes 
several miles out of town. An air of timelessness brooded over the 
wall. The encroachment of the twentieth century was only a few 
decades old when the war against Japan began. The first rickshas 
had appeared only in 1927; they were a novelty, and so were the 

15 



two motor roads. A public telephone system came in 1931, a new 
water system in 1932, and twenty-four-hour electric service in 
1935. The first motor vessel had forced its way up the Yangtze at 
the beginning of the century; few followed it. 

A thousand Chungking alleyways darted off down the slopes 
of the hills from the two main roads ; they twisted and tumbled 
over steps that had been polished smooth by the tramp of 
centuries of padding straw-sandalled feet. The native Szechwanese 
lived in these alleys as they had for centuries ; they held aloof from 
the worldly downriver Chinese and were suspicious of them. The 
alleys were tiny, cut with dark slantwise shadows; on foggy days 
they were tunnels through the greyness, and some were so narrow 
that a passerby would catch the drip from the eaves on both sides 
with his umbrella. Coolies with buckets of water staggered up the 
slime-encrusted steps to the side alleys that the new water mains 
could not reach; sewage and garbage were emptied into the same 
stream from which drinking water was taken. Oil lamps and 
candles burned in homes at night. When they fell ill, some of the 
people used the three excellent mission clinics or the hospital, 
but more of them went to herb doctors who compounded cures for 
them by esoteric recipes calling for everything from crystals of musk 
to children's urine. They guarded against infection by tying a live 
cock to the chest of a corpse to keep away spirits. They wore greyed 
towels about their heads, turban fashion, as the relic of forgotten 
mourning for a folk-hero dead sixteen centuries ago. The women 
nursed their babies in the open streets as they chatted with their 
neighbours; they would hold a child over the gutter to relieve 
himself. 

The old streets were full of fine ancient noises squealing pigs, 
bawling babies, squawking hens, gossiping women, yelling men, 
and the eternal singsong chant of coolies carrying their burdens 
up from the cargo boats at the river's edge to the level of the city 
itself. The cotton-yardage salesman, laden with wares, advertised 
them by clacking a rhythmic beat on a block of wood as he 
walked. The notions dealer carried his goods in a square box on 
his back and enumerated them loudly. The night-soil collector 
had a chant all his own. So did the man selling brassware cats' 
bells, knives, toothpicks, ear-cleaners, all dangling from a long 
pole. Shops that refinished cotton quilts provided a sort of bass 
violin accompaniment as the workers strummed on vibrating thongs 
that twanged into the cotton, hummed over it, and twanged again. 
16 



About this old city in 1939 grew the new wartime capital. 
Chiang had chosen Chungking for the same geographical reasons 
that had made it important to every conqueror. Here all the 
communications of western China gather to a focus. Roads run to 
the southeast, Yunnan, Chengtu, and the north. The rivers all 
join in Chungking before they plunge on into the gorges. From 
Chungking, Chiang could reach more of his fronts with supplies 
and reinforcements in less time than from any other city that was 
left to him. Moreover, Chungking had other advantages its 
famous winter fog that shrouded the city from Japanese bombers 
for six months of the year, its cliffs" from which were carved the 
world's most impregnable air-raid shelters. 

All through the fall of 1938 and the spring of 1939, driven in 
flight by the Japanese, government personnel came pouring in, 
ragtag, bobtail, and aristocracy. Government offices were 
migrating en masse. They came by bus and sedan, by truck and 
ricksha, by boat and on foot. Peddlers, shopkeepers, politicians, 
all ended their march in the walled city. The population of 200,000 
more than doubled in a few months; within six months after the 
fall of Hankow in 1938 it was nudging the million mark. The old 
town burst at the seams. A dizzy spirit of exhilaration coursed 
through its lanes and alleys. It was as if a county seat of Kentucky 
mountaineers had suddenly been called on to play host to all the 
most feverishly dynamic New Yorkers, Texans, and Californians. 

New buildings spread like fungus. Szechwan had no steel, so 
bamboo was sunk for corner poles; few nails, so bamboo strips 
were tied for joining; little wood, so bamboo was split and inter- 
laced for walls. Then the ramshackle boxes were coated thick with 
mud and roofed with thatch or tile. And in these huts lived the 
believers in Free China officials who could have returned to 
collaboration and comfort, but who stayed on in Chungking 
because their country needed them. The town filled with new 
stores and signboards. Each store proclaimed its origin: Nanking 
Hat Shop, Hankow Dry Cleaners, Hsuchow Candy Store, and 
Shanghai Garage and Motor Repair Works almost by the dozen. 
Refugees had their own food tastes, which Szechwanese 
restaurants could not satisfy, and restaurants, proclaiming each 
its speciality, followed the refugees up from the coast. In squalid, 
hastily built sheds you could buy Fukienese-style fish food, 
Cantonese delicacies, peppery Hunanese chicken, flaky Peking 
duck. By the middle years of the war, when a luxury group had 
Be 17 



grown up in Chungking, its tables were almost as good as those 
of imperial Peking for those who had the price. All the dialects 
of China mixed together in Chungking in a weird, happy caco- 
phony of snarls, burrs, drawls, and staccatos. A foreigner who 
asked direction in halting Mandarin dialect was likely to be 
answered by a Cantonese who spoke Mandarin even worse. 
Officials in government bureaux found that it was easier to deal 
with some of their fellows in writing and that their Szechwanese 
messenger boys could scarcely understand them. 

Chungking seethed and spread. It spilled out of the city wall 
and reached beyond the suburbs to engulf rice paddies and fields. 
The government gave the streets new names Road of the 
National Republic; Road of People's Livelihood; First, Second, 
and Third Middle Roads and all these high-sounding names 
appeared on official stationery and invitations. The ricksha men 
knew nothing of them, however, and when you received an in- 
vitation, you had to translate quickly back to the old Szechwanese 
to let your puller know that you wanted the cliff of the Merciful 
Buddha, the slope of Seven Stars, or just the corner of Shansi 
and White Elephant Streets. 

Chungking, the refugees and exiles decided almost instantly, 
was a horrid place, and one of the worst things about it was the 
people. The downriver folk who had come up the Yangtze with 
their government regarded the Szechwanese as a curious species 
of second-grade inhabitant. It was true that rich Chungking 
banking families like the Young brothers belonged to the aristo- 
cracy of wealth that made the rich of all China one family. But 
the average Szechwanese, with his dirty white turban, his whining 
singsong voice, his languid manners, seemed backward even to 
the most backward of coastal Chinese, who, after all, had seen 
street cars. The natives, on their side, regarded the downriver 
people as interlopers and foreigners, to be mulcted, squeezed, 
and sneered at; they were irritated by the crowding and the 
rising prices. Chungking had been little touched by Western 
ways; it clung to the old customs; marriages were still arranged 
by parents, and husband and wife met on their wedding day for 
the first time. Chungking disapproved of the lipstick on down- 
river girls; it disliked their frizzled hair; it was shocked by boys 
and girls eating together in public restaurants. 

Perhaps the newcomers found the weather even more irritating 
than the people. There were only two seasons in Chungking, both 
18 



bad. From early fall to late spring the fogs and rains made a 
dripping canopy over the city; damp and cold reigned in every 
home. The slime in the street was inches thick, and people carried 
the slippery mud with them as they went from bedroom to council 
chamber and back. There was no escaping the chilly moisture 
except by visiting the handful of people who lived in modern 
homes in which coal was burned. The crowded, huddled refugee 
population, cramped together in their jerry-built shacks, could 
only warm their fingers over expensive charcoal pots or go to bed 
early. Everyone shivered until summer came; then the heat 
settled down, and the sun glared. Dust coated the city almost as 
thickly as mud during the wintertime. Moisture remained in the 
air, perspiration dripped, and prickly heat ravaged the skin. Every 
errand became an expedition, each expedition an ordeal. Swarms 
of bugs emerged; small green ones swam on drinking water and 
spiders four inches across crawled on the walls. The famous 
Chungking mosquitoes came, and Americans claimed the mos- 
quitoes worked in threes; two lifted the mosquito net, while the 
third zoomed in for the kill. Meat spoiled ; there was never enough 
water for washing; dysentery spread and could not be evaded. 

Under the fog and within the heat there unrolled during the six 
years of war an almost fantastic pageant of life. All the varying 
layers of Chinese society in all their stages of development blended 
together in a city whose essential personality was compounded in 
equal parts of exasperation, madness, and charm. TheShanghai and 
Hongkong women sneaked away to get bootleg permanent waves, 
which the government declared illegal; the native boatmen and 
carriers sneaked away to get bootleg opium, which the government 
likewisedeclaredillegal.Thefew automobiles of the rich, screeching 
through the streets, dodged trussed pigs, squeaking barrows, 
battered rickshas. Parades adorned with green leaves besought the 
gods for rain in time of drought; traditional marriage processions 
merrily paraded behind red-draped bridal chairs under archways 
and banners that called on the public to celebrate National Aviation 
Day. The city was full of drifting odours, both nauseous and 
fragrant. Chestnuts roasted over charcoal and gravel, and the winds 
drew faint, sweet scents out of herb shops. In summer the over- 
powering stench of human filth in the open gutters blended with the 
intoxicating aroma of Chinese foods frying in deep fat with spices. 

The one quality that foreigners, refugees, and Szechwanese 
shared was strangeness. Refugees from the coast were strangers 



both in time and space. Retreating across the face of their country, 
they had receded at each remove one step closer to the ancient 
origins of the nation out of which they had so lately lifted them- 
selves ; when they arrived at Chungking, they were in feudal times. 
The natives of Chungking were strangers in time alone; the new 
world had moved in on them, and they could not understand it. 

On the night of the first major bombing raid in Chungking an 
eclipse of the moon occurred over Szechwan. According to the 
folklore of China a lunar eclipse happens when the giant dog of 
heaven tries to devour the moon. The dog can be prevented from 
swallowing the moon only by beating great bronze gongs to 
frighten him from his celestial meal. All through the night, between 
the raids of the third and fourth of May, the beating of the gongs 
that were rescuing the moon echoed within the city wall, mingling 
with the sound of fire and the many-tongued sorrow of the stricken. 

The bombings were what made Chungking great and fused all 
the jagged groups of men and women into a single community. 
Chungking was a defenceless city. Its anti-aircraft guns were 
almost useless; the rifling on their old barrels had worn smooth 
by the time the Japanese began their major assault on the city. 
It had no radar nor any air force worthy of the name. Its people 
were huddled dangerously close; its buildings were tinder, its 
firefighting equipment and water supply negligible. It could op- 
pose the strength of the Japanese with only three resources : the 
magnificent caves in the rock cliffs on which the city rested, the 
almost fantastic air-raid precaution system that Chinese ingenuity 
so quickly contrived, and the indomitable will of the people. 

The bombings began in May 1939. The Japanese had waited 
for months after the collapse of Hankow in the fall of 1938. They 
had made an offer of peace on slave's terms to Chiang K'ai-shek, 
and he had rejected it. Every major city was in the hands of the 
invader, and the shattered Chinese armies were sprawled help- 
lessly along a mountain line from Mongolia to Canton. Chinese 
resistance, the Japanese felt, was broken; it remained only to 
scourge the still stubborn spirit of the Chinese government with 
flame to bring an acknowledgment of defeat. This task the Japan- 
ese handed over to their air force. When the winter fogs lifted 
from about Chungking at the end of April, the Japanese planes 
took over. Two raids ushered in the new era, one hard on the 
heels of the other. The first bombing, which took place on May 3, 
20 



1939, did little damage, the bombs falling for the most part into 
the waters of the Yangtze. The second raid the next day was a 
disaster. The bombers came from the north, out of the dusk, in 
serene, unbroken line-abreast formation, wing tip to wing tip, 
and laced their pattern through the very heart of the old city. 
The ineffectual anti-aircraft missiles traced their trajectories 
through the glowing sky to end in pink bursts that were always 
short, always behind the bomber formation. 

Terror hit Chungking with all the impact of the bombs. Panic 
came from the known the dead, the bleeding, the hundreds of 
thousands who could not crowd into a shelter. Even more it came 
from the unknown the droning planes from a new age, for which 
superstition had no explanation and no remedy. Japanese in- 
cendiaries started a dozen small fires, which within an hour or two 
had met in several distinct patches of creeping destruction that 
were eating out the ancient slums forever. Within the back alleys, 
the lanes, and the twisting byways of the city thousands of men 
and women were being roasted to death ; nothing could save them. 
The curious patterns of ancient temples, lit from behind by an 
unreal sea of red flame, were outlined against the night. All the 
compound noises of a great fire were intensified by the setting of 
the old walled city there were the whistling and crackling of 
timbers, the screaming of people, and the intermittent popping of 
bamboo joints as the lath-and-bamboo slums dissolved in the heat. 

People poured down the one main street that led out of the old 
wall to the suburbs. Panic was transmitted by a mass of wordless 
phenomena by taut faces in the half-light, by the crush of bodies, 
by babies crying, by women keening, by men sitting on kerbs and 
rocking back and forth without a sound. The planes had gone; 
these people were fleeing from a modern world, more terrifying 
than anything they could comprehend. They were carrying with 
them in the panic of the moment a curious salvage; some had live 
chickens, others household goods, mattresses, teakettles, some- 
times the corpses of relatives. The cavalcade padded swiftly into 
the darkness of the fields without a break in the shuffling of feet 
in the dust. Here and there a sedan chair, a ricksha, an army 
truck, or a limousine broke into the procession, which would let it 
pass, then silently close and trudge swiftly on. 

At first Chungking had no answer for the bombs. A people who 
prayed for rain, who carved squat, familiar household gods and 

21 



placated them with everyday necessities, could not cope with the 
idea of engined monsters dropping death from overhead. If the 
Japanese had followed up with a few more equally savage raids, 
Chungking might have broken. The government toyed for a few 
days with the idea of retreating farther into the Szechwanese 
hinterland. The streets were barren of people for a week. Rubble 
lay strewn along the highways. But the Japanese did not come. 
For some unknown reason it was almost a month before they 
returned, and by that time Chungking had caught its second wind, 
though there was panic again and again in the next few weeks. 
A few drifters in the streets would be startled and would run at 
the imagined sound of an air-raid siren; others would follow, till 
hundreds of people were racing for the dugouts in terror, although 
there was not an enemy plane within hundreds of miles. By mid- 
summer even these fleeting false panics had passed, and Chung- 
king had settled into the mould of endurance that was to carry it 
through three summers of bombings. The people had two things 
to understand and trtfst a magnificent air-raid warning system 
and the dugouts. 

The warning system was a monumental elaboration of Chinese 
ingenuity, decked out with a few tricks contributed by America's 
technician of the air, Clare Chennault, senior aeronautical adviser 
to the Chinese government all through the war. It was arranged 
to notify Chungking when planes were coming, whether they were 
scouts or bombers, and how much time there would be before 
they arrived. The main bombing base for the Japanese was in 
Hankow; Chinese spies in Hankow would watch the Japanese 
take off, then splice into the city telephone system to report the 
news to Chinese radios hidden in the city. These radios would 
flash the news from Hankow to the Chinese network all about the 
enemy lines, and almost before the enemy planes were at cruising 
altitude, Chungking would know that they were on their way. 
The Chinese had no radar net to strain the altitude, direction, and 
magnitude of the attacking body from the skies, but they had 
literally thousands of two-man teams watching the skies all over 
the rim of Free China. 

In the beginning Chungking""relied on a simple siren system, 
with a warning alert when planes crossed the downriver border of 
the province; later all sorts of refinements were added. The 
government erected towering gallowslike poles on all the highest 
hills in the city and about its mountainous rim. An enormous 
22 



paper lantern was hung on each pole when the first siren sounded ; 
this meant that planes were approaching, an hour away. Two red 
lanterns meant that the enemy was coming close; when both 
were suddenly dropped, it meant, " Get inside the dugout; they're 
here." A long green paper stocking was the all-clear signal; at 
night the lanterns were lighted. The city fathers wasted no time 
on dimouts, brownouts, or blackouts; when the Japanese were 
within 50 miles, the central switch at the power house was pulled, 
and the city went dead lights, radios, telephones, machinery. If 
a gendarme saw a lighted window, a cigarette, or a glowing flash- 
light during a raid, he simply shot at it. 

The warning net was designed to fit into a pattern of precautions 
based on the Chungking system of dugouts. Chungking rests on 
steep rocky cliffs. These cliffs were bored through with channels, 
passageways, and caverns, some of them a mile and a half long. 
Blasting dugouts became one of the city's basic trades. All winter 
long the blasters chanted as they swung their mallets in rhythm 
against the walls of rock; the booming of black powder in the 
caves was the constant undertone of city noise. The crushed rock 
was used to surface new roads. Each government bureau had a 
dugout close at hand, and bureaus competed to build the biggest 
and driest shelter. Each member of each department had a ticket 
that permitted his wife, children, mother, father, and assorted 
other relatives to share his shelter. The people had faith in their 
dugouts. Over the years of bombing not more than two or three 
of the deep-dug caves collapsed, and with the lantern-and-siren 
system there was always enough time to get to shelter and settle 
down before danger was at hand. 

Around this system Chungking made a new life. More than 
ever it was necessary to live where you worked; a sudden raid 
made movement impossible. Offices built dormitories ; they held 
most of the workers and their families as well. A visitor to the 
Central Broadcasting System stooped under lines of wet laundry 
just inside the impressive entrance; babies gurgled and played on 
the steps of imposing executive offices. Everything, office files and 
workers' clothing, was kept packed so that it could be whisked 
to the dugout when the siren sounded. The sky set the day's plans. 
Long errands were saved for a cloudy day. When the sun promised 
to shine, people got up before daybreak for their expeditions, so as 
to avoid being caught away from their dugout by a raid. The mass 
reaction of Chungking, of its officials and its citizens, was superb; 

23 



they simply accepted the fact that on any sunlit day during the 
summer months they might be killed. All were thirsty, all were 
sleepless, all walked in the dust, all crouched in caves. They began 
to be proud of themselves, and they began to admire those about 
them who were suffering the same ordeal; Chinese in Western 
clothes and Chinese in blue cotton gowns felt that they were the 
same flesh and blood. 

The government's only resource was its people, and for a brief 
period of isolation from outside aid it realized its dependence on 
the people and gave them leadership. For the first heroic period in 
Chungking leadership was as idealistic and self-sacrificing as the 
led. The mayor of Chungking was a chubby American-trained 
intellectual named K. C. Wu. His direction of the city's life under 
bombardment was magnificent. He dashed about in the open 
during raids to direct relief and firefighting with the utmost 
personal courage. He was a favourite with the Generalissimo, and 
his personal example was a stimulus to all. When the bombers 
tore great patches of destruction through the town, K. C. Wu 
saw that clean new streets followed the bombers. Wu's later career 
was an anticlimax, for he, even more than others, succumbed to 
the atmosphere of cynicism and opportunism that conquered the 
capital by the end of the war. 

From early May to late September, while the heat weighed on 
the city like a brazen shell, the Japanese scourged Chunking 
with effortless ease. In 1939 they specialized in night raids; in 
1940 they came usually by day; by 1941 they had varied their 
programme and were coming by both day and night, so that the 
dugout population was penned in foul, damp air hour after inter- 
minable hour. The water mains were bombed out, the electrical 
system shattered, and there were no materials for repair. Almost 
nothing could be bought in the shops ; peasants hesitated to carry 
their food into a city of death. 

Chungking wore its scars as badges of honour. The smashed 
shop front, the burned-out acres of devastation, the bamboo-and- 
mud squalor of the new housing, were all wounds of war, and 
Chungking's visitors were shown the sights as evidence of its 
courage. Coolies carried buckets of water from the river banks 
miles away, and the -town's best hotel offered a bath consisting of 
one inch of water and one inch of mud as its greatest luxury. The 
few establishments with modern flush toilets installed wooden 
24 



tubs, from which a bucket of muddy water could be dipped to 
slosh down the drain. The water quota was usually one tin basin- 
ful per person per day. You skimmed off bugs in the morning 
and worked down in sections from head to foot, and you washed 
in the same water at noon and at night; finally, after spitting 
toothpaste into it, you emptied it out the front door with relief. 
People stank with a ripe goaty odour for lack of baths, but no one 
minded; they wore their old clothes week after week, mud- or 
sweat-stained, depending on the season. All that remained of the 
telephone system was snarled coils of wire in the streets. There 
was no light for days on end, for the power lines sustained hit 
after hit. Sewage piled up in the gutters and smelled; mosquitoes 
bred in the stagnant pools of water deep in the ruins, and malaria 
flourished. Dysentery grew worse; so did cholera, rashes, and a 
repulsive assortment of internal parasites. The smallest sore 
festered and persisted. Rats that lived in the shattered slums grew 
fat and loathsome on what they found beneath the debris ; sometimes 
they were bold enough to swarm about your ankles as you walked 
at night, and the press reported that they killed babies in their cribs. 

People who had followed their government up from the coast 
found themselves caught between the bombings and the inflation. 
They hungered for food, for clothes, for warmth. A family was 
lucky to have one room to itself in some shack. Unmarried junior 
officials were crammed together in government dormitories, four 
or more of them to each small room; they slept on mattresses of 
one thin cotton quilt, which barely softened the springs of knotted 
cord. Most homes and offices were unheated; officials shivered 
in their overcoats all day and used them for bed coverings at night. 
Prices rose higher and higher daily, while salaries lagged further 
behind. The government saw to it that its servants got several 
sacks of rice each month; it granted them a minimum amount of 
coarse cloth, cooking oil, salt, and fuel at fixed prices. These 
basic things guaranteed existence; the paper-money salary grew 
more worthless each passing month, until an entire month's 
earnings could be spent on a single evening's party. The govern- 
ment gave a certain number of banquets, and these were gay 
occasions a time to eat enough. 

No one who arrived in Chungking in 1938 or 1939 expected to 
stay there for more than a year or two. As time went on, the com- 
munity grew together into the greatest mixing of provincial strains 
in the history of China. Men who left their wives behind in 
Bx 25 



Shanghai and Canton either acquired concubines or brought 
their wives through the blockade lines to join them. Babies were 
born, and their parents bartered the last possessions they had 
carried with them for powdered milk and vitamin pills. Families 
who had formerly sent their children to the relatively efficient 
schools of the coast now watched their education in poorly heated, 
overcrowded rabbit warrens; the children were growing up 
speaking the slurred, whining dialect of Szechwan, and the 
parents' ears winced. Railways and street cars became tales of 
magic. Normally the young people who had come with the 
government would have met their own kind in their own circles 
at the coast, or appropriate marriages would have been arranged 
by their parents. Now nature took its way. Men from Peking 
married girls of Szechwan; daughters of Shanghai families 
married Cantonese. It was a curious mixing. At the war's end 
a lovely Cantonese girl who had married a Shanghai boy and who 
was being sent to Shanghai by her government department before 
her husband could leave said: "He's given me a letter of intro- 
duction to his mother. I hear she's old-fashioned; we won't 
understand each other I can't speak that dialect." 

All the hundreds of thousands who had followed the govern- 
ment inland could have bettered themselves by remaining at the 
coast and eating the bread of the Japanese. The Japanese and their 
puppet Chinese regimes offered salaries two and three times as 
large as the Chungking government; they offered all the comforts 
of home. And yet not once in all the period of bombings, in the 
years when China stood alone without an ally in the world, was 
there any talk of quitting among the small officials. The faint- 
hearted had deserted the government with Wang Ching-wei, the 
chief puppet, before the bombings began; the rest meant to see it 
through. In the cabinet and high up in the army generals and 
dignitaries occasionally toyed with a Japanese peace offer, but 
the basic stock of devotion, discipline, and hope in the lower ranks 
of the civil servants was solid as rock. 

Frequently officials would be sent on government missions to 
Hongkong, the British island, by night plane. The Chinese 
National Airline flew over the Japanese lines to Hongkong at 
night and landed their passengers at dawn. You could leave the 
squalor and filth of Chungking in early evening and six hours 
later see Hongkong below you, glowing like a Christmas tree in 
the darkness, its paved highways and traffic lights strung out like 
36 



glittering tinsel all the way to the crest of the island peak. By 
morning you would be established in a hotel with clean sheets, 
running water, and room service at the end of a phone. Every- 
thing that Chungking lacked was in Hongkong and boats ran 
from Hongkong to Shanghai and Tientsin and to the families left 
behind. Yet even in the days when victory seemed a myth and 
China stood alone, the men who flew to Hongkong returned to 
take up the burden of resistance with their government. 

Looking back on Chungking across the years that succeeded 
Pearl Harbour, it seems strange now to speak of it in such terms 
of enthusiasm. By the end of the war it had become a city of un- 
bridled cynicism, corrupt to the core. But the early Chungking, 
under the bombings, was more than a legend that foreign corre- 
spondents told the world. The foreigners who lived with the 
Chinese were caught up in the spirit of the place and swept away 
by it. From them the illusion of a great and vibrant China made 
its way across the world, and by the time Pearl Harbour imposed 
new standards of restraint and censorship, the picture was fully 
established, and it was difficult to write of the changes that were 
falsifying it. Towards the end of the war, when censorship was 
lifted and a more truthful view of Chinese politics began to be 
given the American people, the facts were so at variance with the 
illusion generated out of Chungking's early ordeal that the out- 
side world came to believe that the city's spirit had always, even 
in the beginning, been a propagandist's lie. Yet between 1939 and 
1941 Chungking throbbed with the strength of a nation at war. 
It was easy then for a hurried traveller to make the mistake of 
believing that the city itself was strong and that strength ran out 
from it and energized the countryside. The contrary was true. The 
strength of China lay in the countryside, in the power and energy 
of hundreds of millions of peasants; it was their will that infused 
Chungking with strength. Chungking alone was nothing; the real 
answers to the war lay in the myriad villages that covered the land. 
The old spirit in Chungking lasted until the bombings ended, 
until Pearl Harbour. When danger passed, the spirit died. 

Only once again and briefly did it return to hover over Chung- 
king's tumbling hills. It was after V-J day, and the city was strik- 
ing its tents. People were packing bags and household goods; 
thousands were preparing for the trek that was to take them home in 
victory over the roads they had travelled as exiles six years before. 

27 



High above the topmost hill in Chungking, which overlooks the 
spectacular valley of the Chialing River, is a patch of grassy land. 
From the summit of the hill you can see both the winding course 
of the river and the spiralling chains of light that twist about 
Chungking's hills at night. For a few days after the victory a full 
moon glowed in the sky. If you had climbed to the top of the hill 
during the moon's week of radiance, you would have seen a sad 
and inspiring sight. Sitting quietly on the hilltop were scattered 
little groups of people. They were utterly silent, looking down on 
the moon-filled valley and the silver river; they had come to bid 
farewell to a war and a city and a point in time. 



CHAPTER 2 

THE PEASANT 

THE CHINESE WHO fought this war were peasants born 
in the Middle Ages to die in the twentieth century. 

The strength of Chungking and its government came from the 
villages in which these peasants lived and from their ancient way 
of life a way that Westerners cast off four or five hundred years 
ago in an age of violence almost as terrifying as the present. In 
our folk memories now we recall those times as a period of 
romance; we have thrust away into the dark corners of our minds 
the barbarous substance that underlay the feudal tinsel. 

This civilization of our past, like the civilization of China in our 
own times, rested on the effective enslavement of the common 
man. He was chained to his land and ensared in a net of social 
convention that made him prey to superstition, pestilence, and 
the mercy of his overlords. He shivered in winter, hungered in 
famine, often died of the simple hardship of his daily life before 
he reached maturity. On this base rested the thinnest conceivable 
superstructure of a leisure class that profited by the peasants' toil 
and preserved for posterity the learning and graces it had inherited 
from antiquity. The members of this class could bring themselves 
by no stretch of their imagination to picture the toiling brutes 
beneath them as men like themselves with inalienable human dig- 
nities and sensitiveness. When the Western world revolted against 
this system, it did so in a series of murderous wars that cul- 
minated in the French Revolution. We revere the memory of that 



revolution, but we regard such uprisings in our own time with 
horror and loathing. Nevertheless a revolution of this kind is now 
seething in molten fury throughout Asia. And the very centre 
of the upheaval lies in the villages of China. 

Eighty per cent of China's four hundred and more millions live 
in villages. Almost all of these people live by working the soil; the 
most important single fact about China is that it is a land of 
peasants, a nation of toiling, weather-worn men and women who 
work in the fields each day from dawn to dusk, who hunger for 
the land and love the land, and for whom all the meaning of life 
lies in their relationship to the land. The great cities of China- 
linked by a web of modern communications to each other and the 
Western world are excrescences only recently thrown up by the 
impact of the twentieth century. Their civilization is alien to 
China ; their inhabitants are drawn from the fields, their thoughts 
still conditioned by the village over which the skyscrapers and 
factories throw their shadow. 

The village is a cluster of adobe huts and shelters. If it is a large 
village, there is a wall of mud and rubble round it; a small village 
consists of ten or twelve houses clustered close to each other for 
protection. In a prosperous village the walls of the adobe huts are 
whitewashed, and green trees shade the larger houses; a poor vil- 
lage and most of them are poor is a mass of crumbling 
weathered yellows and browns. The homes have no ceilings but 
the raftered roofs; they have no floors but the beaten earth. Their 
windows are made of greased paper, admitting so little light that 
the inner recesses are always dim. In his house the peasant stores 
his grain; in it he keeps his animals at night; in it is the ancestral 
shrine that he venerates. By day the street is empty of men pigs 
wallow in it, chickens cackle in the alleyways, babies run bare- 
bottomed in the sun, mothers with full brown breasts suckle 
infants in doorways. At dusk the men return from the fields, and 
all over China at the same hour the villages are covered with a 
blue haze of smoke that curls from each homestead as the evening 
meal is cooked. At the same moment in every village, timed only 
to the setting of the sun, the same spiralling wisps of smoke go 
up from the houses to the sky. In the larger villages yellow light 
may gleam for a few hours from the doorways of the more com- 
fortable, who can afford oil for illumination; but in the smaller 
villages the smoke fades away into the dark, and when night is 

20 



coine, the village sleeps, with no point of light to break its 
shadows. 

Men and women come together in the village to produce 
children, till the land, and raise crops. The unity of man, village, 
and field is total and rigid. All the work is done by hand, from 
the sowing of the rice grains in early spring, through the laborious 
transplanting of the tufts in water-filled paddies in late spring, to 
the final harvesting by sickle in the fall. The Chinese farmer does 
not farm; he gardens. He, his wife, and his children pluck out the 
weeds one by one. He hoards his family's night soil through all 
the months of the year; in the spring he ladles out of mortar pits 
hug6 stinking buckets of dark green liquid offal, and carefully, 
without wasting a drop, he spreads the life-giving nitrogen among 
his vegetables and plants. When harvest time comes, the whole 
family goes out to the field to bring in the grain. The family helps 
him thresh his grain, either by monotonously beating it with a 
flail or by guiding animals that draw huge stone rollers round and 
round in a circle over the threshing floor. All life is attached to 
the soil; the peasant works at it, eats of it, returns to it all that his 
body excretes, and is finally himself returned to the soil. 

Certain basic differences exist between the Chinese farmer and 
the farmer of America. The Chinese peasant's acres are pocket- 
handkerchief plots. The average Chinese farm, including those of 
the sparsely populated northwest, is less than 4 acres ; in some of 
the densely settled provinces of the south and west the average is 
between one and one and a half acres per farm. Even this meagre 
morsel is poorly laid out, for it consists of scattered strips and bits 
here and there, and the farmer must walk from one of these to 
another to serve each in turn. The average farmer has few animals. 
He cannot spare precious grain for feeding pigs or beef cattle or 
precious meadow land for dairy products. He may have one or 
two pigs, but these, like his chickens, feed on kitchen scraps. If he 
is well off, he may have an ox or buffalo to pull his plough, but most 
farmers with their small holdings cannot afford even that. 

The farmer himself is uneducated. He is illiterate, and full of 
superstitions and habit ways that make it difficult to reach him 
by print. His horizons are close drawn. Off the main highways 
transportation is as tedious as it was a thousand years ago; the 
people he sees and talks to all live within a day's walk of his birth- 
place and think as he does. His techniques are primitive. He knows 
little of proper seed selection, and till recently his government 
30 



has done little to improve seed strains; he knows nothing 
about combating plant diseases; his sickles, crude ploughs, flails, 
and stone rollers are like those his forefathers used. Frugality 
governs all his actions. He gathers every wisp of grass and twists 
it together for fuel. He sows beans or vegetables on the narrow 
ridges that separate one paddy field from another, so that no 
square foot of growing land is lost. He weaves hats, baskets, and 
sandals out of rice straw; out of the pig's bladder he makes a toy 
balloon for the children; every piece of string, every scrap of 
paper, every rag is saved. 

Last and most important, the yield of his back-breaking labour 
is pitifully small. Although the yield per acre is fair 80 to go 
per cent of what the American farmer gets from the same amount 
of land the yield is miserably small in terms of man-hours, in 
terms of mouths and human lives. One American farmer with 
his machines, draught animals, good seeds, and broad acres will 
produce 15 pounds of grain each year while the Chinese farmer is 
producing one. This means that the Chinese farmer is constantly at 
war with starvation; he and his family live in the shadow of hunger. 

The human pattern is the family. In a way that we no longer 
know except in rare instances, the family is a single personality. 
The common strength of the family upholds the individual 
through misfortune; the insatiable demands of the family deny 
him the slightest human privacy. 

Chinese women bear babies constantly, but the infant death 
rate and disease cut down on the number of the living. The 
Chinese love their children; when they can, they pamper them 
outrageously. The poorest peasant tries to wrap his baby in 
scarlet silks and suffocate him with parental care and affection. 
Partly this is tenderness such as animates all parents ; partly it is 
the result of social pressure, for children are the only form of old 
age insurance that exists in China. Parents live by labour till 
their muscles wither; when they are old, they must starve unless 
the family cares for them. Childlessness is the greatest tragedy 
possible to any family. Contrary to general belief, Chinese peas- 
ants do not have large families. The patriarchal household, with 
grandfather, grandmother, and married children all living under 
one roof, is a minor phenomenon rather than the rule; most 
peasant holdings are too small to support such a grouping. The 
average family group has only five members. If a peasant has 

3* 



only enough land to feed himself and his family, he can afford 
only one son; if he has two, his land must be divided between 
them and will provide neither with enough to live. The land, too, 
underlies the preference for sons. Only sons can inherit; a 
daughter can have no part of her father's land and must go away 
to share her husband's. So the farmer views the money spent on 
his daughter and the food she eats as a waste, a temporary invest- 
ment that can bring small return. 

Weddings, celebrated everywhere with much the same glee 
and ceremony, are also determined largely by the land. A rigid 
social system outlines a series of gifts from the groom's family to 
the bride's and from the bride's to her new home. These must 
come from the land or be paid for by the land, and a family 
with little to offer will have difficulty in arranging a match. 
Weddings are arranged by parents, not lovers. They link the 
families by a tenuous but useful kinship, so that every member 
must be considered. Weddings provide joy for everyone but the 
bride. Her father must give a dowry, but he is getting rid of a 
drain on his resources, and he perhaps has acquired a future 
source of credit. The groom receives household furniture and a 
degree of independence in his household. The mother-in-law 
gets another servant, to be trained and disciplined and used, who 
some day will provide a grandchild. Only the bride has little 
dignity and little standing. She is not really a member of the family 
till she produces a son; if her husband displays affection, he may be 
ridiculed by his family until his behaviour be comes properly distant . 

Funerals provoke the same mourning and long-drawn-out 
reverence everywhere. The funeral of a father is the son's prime 
responsibility. He must provide fine burial garments and feasts 
for friends and relatives. The funeral, too, is closely related to the 
land. It may be postponed if death comes in a bad crop year; 
sometimes part of the land will be mortgaged or even sold to cover 
the expense. And if two sons dispute their inheritance, the one 
who manages to pay for the funeral has consolidated his claim. 
The dead does not leave the land ; it is his resting place, the home 
of his spirit, and it must not be sold except as a last resort, because 
generations past and gone still share in it. 

Chinese peasant culture, so far as Westerners know it, is little 
understood. The peasants share common superstitions such as the 
code of the wind and water, whereby diviners arrange the con- 
struction of a house so that it will be happily placed and catch 
32 



good luck. They all share a common form of ancestor worship 
and a belief in local gods, at whose wayside shrines they burn 
incense sticks. The fortune teller is found all over the land, and 
women consult him everywhere. The great holidays/ of the year 
differ in observance from place to place, but the greatest of them, 
like New Year's Day, are much the same in all provinces. New 
Year's is fixed by the lunar calendar and, like our Easter, may 
fall on a different day each year. New Year's in China is a joyful 
time; all bills are settled before then, the family rests from work, 
wives return to visit their parents, new clothes are worn, and pates 
are shaven smooth. It is a season of complete rest and feasting. 
The villagers are quite unaware that the Central Government 
has decreed that New Year's Day shall be January i and that 
what China has always regarded as New Year's shall be quaintly 
called Spring Festival. 

Besides these national characteristics each locality boasts some 
regional variation a special superstition revolving about a holy 
mountain, a sacred cave, the propitiation of certain rivers and 
lakes. The local customs, woven together into the national tradition, 
give the provinces their special quality and mark every stranger, 
whether Chinese or Western, as a foreigner in 'the village streets. 

What binds all these people together is not so much their com- 
mon culture, common language, or common traditions as it is 
their subjection to a poverty and ignorance that knows no counter- 
part in the Western world. It is their life in squalid huts, the close- 
cramped rooms with earthen floors, the diseases of filth and mal- 
nutrition, the cold of winter, the monotonous food. Out of this 
searing crucible of want, the back bent by the stooping trans- 
plantation of rice, the loins broken by the constant bearing of 
children, comes the desperate struggle of all Chinese to live, to 
scratch up enough for an existence above the line of misery. You 
can see the entire tragedy in any village street in China. You see 
the ripe girls as they approach the age of marriage cheeks 
abloom, dark hair glistening with health, sturdy bodies full of 
life; you see also their sisters ten or twelve years older, their eyes 
tired, their bodies stooped, their breasts and bellies flaccid from 
exhaustion and childbearing already old, for the life of China 
has consumed them. 

The brooding, underlying melancholy of the village is infused 
by two qualities in which foreigners find an intoxicating charm. 

33 



One is the almost Puckish sense of humour that is so wonderfully 
ingrained in the Chinese national character. Any oddity, no 
matter how trivial, is the occasion for jest; a meeting of people 
in the streets or at village teahouses ripples with rollicking 
laughter. They have a broad practical sense of fun that delights 
in the humiliation of pompous characters, the cut of foreigners' 
clothes, intricate plays on words. Even some of the most practical 
customs of the countryside are gravely explained in humorous 
terms thus it is declared that a peasant driving a flock of ducks 
to market has the right to let his ducks glean fallen rice grains in 
the wayside paddies because the duck droppings more than enrich 
the soil in return. The second quality is gossip, which runs like 
quicksilver from hut to hut and whispering tongue to listening ear. 
No man's quarrel is a private affair, for the entire village must 
debate and judge it; the cruelty of a father, the faithlessness of a 
son, the new concubine of the rich landlord, are village matters. 
And if, God forbid, some good housewife or maiden with 
advanced ideas should be persuaded to commit an indiscretion, 
then the village literally seethes and crackles with talk. This gossip 
covers the entire range of human affairs from the crops and taxes 
to the ultimate dark distortions of war, peace, and world affairs. 

The substratum of this life is emotional starvation. Since most 
of the peasants are illiterate, they can enjoy neither books nor 
newspapers. They have no moving pictures, no radios. Their 
lives are conditioned by rumour, and almost anything will serve 
to fill the great vacuum their boredom produces. The village fairs 
are as much social as economic institutions. During the idle 
season of the fields people gather at the booths and gossip, watch 
magicians, listen to story-tellers. Sometimes a touring troupe of 
actors will pass through a district to show an ancient classical 
drama; the performance will be discussed and criticized for days 
afterwards even by those who have not the remotest idea of what 
the archaic words meant or what the involved symbolism repre- 
sented. The villagers will cluster about anyone and anything if 
it appears to be odd ; a mechanic fixing a faulty motor in a village 
performs before a huge audience, and a foreigner with a camera 
will find himself so quickly surrounded by cheerful, crowding 
citizens that he will be unable to take any pictures. 

Chinese village life cannot be painted entirely in sombre 
colours, for it has great beauties. There are the beauties of hills 
and mountains and slopes covered with silver crescents of paddy 

34 



field as far as the eye can reach. There are the beauties of meadows 
covered with yellow rapeseed flowers, of trees hung with red per- 
simmons, of fields of tall yellow grain. In the larger villages the 
rich families foster all the ancient graces of China. There is no 
form of architecture more lovely than a spreading Chinese court- 
yard. Bridges arch across still pools where goldfish swim ; concentric 
rings of rooms pierced by moon gates make an inner world of 
serenity divided into quiet islands. Within such homes are pre- 
served the classics, the embroidered silks, the lacquerware and 
porcelain, the arts and crafts, that all the world so admires. The 
peasant in his field hardly sees these graces, and when he does, he 
scarcely sees them in the same light as those who enjoy these 
things at the cost of his toil. 

The weight of ignorance and labour is only part of the burden 
the Chinese peasant bears; there is also the weight of a social 
system as antique as his ideas and superstitions. The peasant's 
relation to the land is conditioned by those who control the land. 
It is characteristic of China's present social state that this, the 
most overwhelming of all her problems, should completely lack 
adequate statistics. Some people estimate but very roughly 
that 30 per cent of China's peasants are part tenants and part 
freeholders, another 30 per cent are tenants or landless farm 
hands, and 40 per cent own the land they till. This analysis is 
very shaky. The pressure on the tenant and the small owner is 
far different from the pressure in American rural life. Chinese 
landlords rackrent their fields to the last possible grain. On good 
lands they demand from 50 to 60 per cent of the crops ; in some 
areas, including Chungking, they take up to 80 per cent of the 
cash crops. In districts where land ownership is highly concen- 
trated, the great landlord may conduct himself as a baron with his 
own armed retainers, his ruthless rent-collecting agents, and his 
serfs the tenant farmers. 

The small owner is frequently little better off than the tenant. 
Anyone may tax him and usually does. He must bear the heavy 
load of government exactions, the petty pilferings of all the local 
officials, and the demands of army officers who may be stationed 
in his district. Even the soldiers feel free to demand pigs, meat, 
and food of him when passing through his district. Every farmer 
needs credit at some time or other, and credit in China may 
reduce the farmer who nominally owns his land to the status of 

35 



farm labourer for his creditor. A loan for seeds, tools, family 
emergencies enmeshes the farmer in the web of usury. Despite 
all government efforts to break the system in the villages, credit 
still remains in the hands of the village pawnbrokers and loan 
sharks often the same men who are the large landlords. Interest 
rates run from 30 to 60 per cent a year and higher. Once caught 
in the grip of the usurers, a man has little chance of getting out. 
Marketing is another process in which the small peasant usually 
loses. He sells his grain at low prices in the glut season of harvest; 
what he buys back from the market he buys at high prices during 
the lean season. Transportation is so crude, roads are so few, that 
each district operates almost as an isolated entity. There is no 
national market that fixes prices, nor are there railways to equalize 
surplus and deficit areas. 

The landlord, the loan shark, and the merchant may be one 
and the same person in any village. Usually in a large town they 
are a compact social group of " better" families. Their landed 
wealth gives them an aura of respectability and a veneer of 
civilization. When traditionalists speak of village democracy in 
China, they usually refer to the ' 'elders'* who make community 
decisions for the whole. Almost always the elders are members of 
the rich landed families or are their commercial allies. The few 
"literati" of China, those who can afford education, come from 
these families; and the administrative government of the Chinese 
nation has always been drawn from these educated people. By its 
very origin the bureaucracy starts off with a feeling of loyalty and 
devotion to its own group, to the cultivated well-to-do families 
from which it sprang. In the village itself the unity of the landed 
families and the local government is obvious. The pao chang and 
the chia chang, as the local chiefs are called who are appointed by 
the government in each village to levy its taxes, conscript soldiers, 
and preserve public order, are almost invariably members of 
such families. 

To speak of these families as wealthy in the American sense 
would be ridiculous. The largest landholders in China proper 
usually possess no more than a few hundred acres. The total capital 
of a merchant in a large town rarely exceeds the equivalent of 
$50,000 U.S. But against the background of misery and savagery 
in the countryside such wealth is spectacular. All men struggle 
against misery, and out of their struggle come all of China's 
problems for when the miserable struggle against nature, they 
36 



usually end by struggling among themselves. Only a Chinese 
standing close to the peasant himself can understand for just how 
meagre a handful of rice he can buy another Chinese and just 
how great are the limits of tolerance to which he can push his 
fellow man. Only someone who is exposed to the wretchedness of 
work can fully savour the sweetness of indolence, and the fat- 
jowled merchant and loan shark of the market town loves his hot, 
rich foods the more because so few can enjoy them. 

Appeal by the peasant against the oligarchy that rules him is 
useless. The local government to which he must appeal against 
iniquitous taxes, usurious interest, common police brutality, is by 
its very constitution the guardian of the groups that crush him. 
Even before the war the few interested students of the problem of 
local government were shocking the conscience of China by 
detailed local studies of how the system worked ; they were pro- 
ducing dry little brochures that damned the system from paddy 
field to courtyard. In some places peasants who failed to keep up 
their interest rates were seized by local police and thrown into 
jail; they were left to die of hunger unless their families brought 
them rice and water. Peasants were forced to work unpaid on the 
estates of some landlords as part of their feudal obligations. And 
every agent of government or landlord took his own particular 
percentage when levying his demands on the peasants' harvest. 

The ancient trinity of landlord, loan shark, and merchant is a 
symbol hated throughout Chinese history. It represents a system 
that has shackled China's development for five centuries. During 
the last century, however, the system has tightened about the 
Chinese peasant as never before because of the impact of the 
West, by commerce and violence, on its timeworn apparatus. 
Concentration of landholding had usually been stimulated in 
olden times by famine, flood, or disaster, when the peasant was 
forced to sell or mortgage his lands to meet his emergency needs. 
But the impact of Western commerce created new forms of liquid 
wealth in China and concentrated it in the hands of the relatively 
minute number of go-betweens of Western industry and the 
Chinese market. This new commercial wealth lacked the know- 
how, the courage, or the proper conditions to invest in industrial 
enterprises, as commercial wealth historically did everywhere 
else; it found in land its safest and most profitable form of invest- 
ment. Particularly in the vicinity of such cities as Shanghai and 
Canton, where the new wealth was created, it poured into the 

37 



countryside; land values shot upward, and the peasant was 
crushed by a process he could not understand. In the neighbour- 
hood of such cities 80 per cent of the peasants are bare-handed 
tenants. The increasing importance of land as an item of com- 
mercial speculation divorced the landlord from the personal obli- 
gations he had formerly borne. Absentee landlords living in urban 
comfort far from the villages sold and bought land at increasingly 
high prices; they extracted the maximum possible revenue. By 
ancient custom in certain places the tenant formerly had an in- 
alienable right to his tillage; the landlord's legal title gave him 
what was called "bottom" rights, but the tenant possessed 
"surface" rights, the right to farm the soil, and no landlord 
could sell the surface rights out from under the peasant or dis- 
possess him of his means of livelihood. Such quaint customs, 
however, dissolved as the acid of modern speculation ate away 
into the ancient system of landholding. 

On the coast the impact of Western commerce was direct and 
clear; in the interior it was more subtle and diffused. The peasants 
in the vast interior of China had employed themselves at cottage 
industries during the idle months. Between peak seasons of work 
in the fields the peasant turned out homespun cloth, straw baskets 
and hats, and raw silk, which he could sell at a small profit in 
local markets. His revenue from this industry was slight, but the 
margin of his existence was so narrow that in most cases it was 
absolutely vital to him. Western industry began to produce and 
pour into the interior, both from overseas and from its Shanghai 
outposts, new textiles, shiny gadgets, kerosene, and other materials 
so cheap and of such superior quality that the peasant crafts 
could not hope to compete. Peasant homes lack electricity or any 
other source of power but the animal energy of human beings ; 
no matter how cheaply they turned out goods, they could not 
match factory-made competing articles either in quality or in 
price. In some areas of China home industry was wiped out 
entirely, and the peasant was left with no useful occupation to 
fill his time and budget. Instead of creating an outlet for surplus 
farm labour by establishing itself in the interior, industry con- 
centrated at the coast and siphoned off the depressed farm popu- 
lation to be consumed in mills, where it worked perhaps a four- 
teen-hour day for a pittance. 

Another grim factor for a generation past has been civil com- 
motion. The war lords who tore the interior to pieces were most 



of them shrewd, brutal men who wished to crystallize per- 
manently both their gains and their social position; this could be 
done best by acquiring land. Peasants were beaten off their fields, 
or their ownership was taxed away. In one county near Chengtu, 
in western China, 70 per cent of the land is held by a single person, 
a former war lord. These war lords, even though their military 
fangs are now drawn, are still potent economic forces. 

Crushed by speculation, war lords, and Western commerce, 
strait-jacketed by their ancient feudal relationships, the peasants 
of China have been gradually forced to the wall. Despite all the 
new railways and factories and the humane paper legislation of 
the Central Government, some scholars think that China is per- 
haps the only country in the world where the people eat less, live 
more bitterly, and are clothed worse than they were five hundred 
years ago. 

Many Western and Chinese students have looked at China 
through the eyes of her classics. Seeing it through such a medium, 
they have regarded China as "quaint" and found a timeless 
patina of age hanging over the villages and people. The biblical 
rhythm of the fields makes Chinese life seem an idyl, swinging 
from season to season, from sowing to harvest, from birth to death, 
in divinely appointed cadences. Chinese intellectuals, writing of 
their country and their people for foreign consumption, have 
stressed this piquant charm along with the limpid purity of the 
ancient philosophy. This composite picture of China is both false 
and vicious. Beneath the superficial routine of the crops and the 
village there is working a terrible ferment of change, which now, 
with ever-increasing frequency, is bursting into the main stream 
of Chinese politics. Those who see in the peasant's life an imagi- 
nary loveliness are the first to stand terrified at the barbarities 
his revolts bring about in the countryside when he is aroused. 
There is no brutality more ferocious than that of a mass of people 
who have the chance to work primitive justice on men who have 
oppressed them. The spectacle of loot and massacre, of temples in 
flames, of muddy sandals trampling over silken brocades, is awe- 
some; but there is scant mercy or discrimination in any revolu- 
tion, large or small. 

The great question of China is whether any democratic form of 
government can ease these tensions by wise laws, peacefully, 
before the peasant takes the law into his own hands and sets the 
countryside to flame, 

39 



CHAPTER 3 

THE RISE OF THE KUOMINTANG 

OUT OF THE misery of the countryside, out of the growing 
strains and pressures in the villages, an urgency has been gene- 
rating within China that can be stilled only by change by peace 
if possible, by violence if there is no other way. Such revolu- 
tionary pressure is not new in Chinese history. Time and again 
the weight of the old system has grown too heavy for the peasant 
to bear. At such moments he has punctuated the history of his 
land with blood, swept it with desperate fury, thrown out the 
reigning dynasty, and established a new order. Each of the many 
dynasties of China was born of upheaval ; each started with a 
vigorous administration on top, a reorganization and redistri- 
bution of land and feudal obligations on the bottom. And with 
each new dynasty in turn the process of widening differentiation 
went on afresh until it was again intolerable, and revolution 
brewed out of the suffering and discontent burst forth anew. 

The crisis today is different from the crises of years gone by. 
For one reason, an ordinary historical upheaval would yield only 
a system of weak peasant equality, and what history demands 
now is something that will lift Chinese society to the level of the 
modern world. For another, the normal cycle of revolution and 
reorganization has been too long frustrated. A hundred years ago 
an overdue revolution against the moribund Manchu dynasty 
swept from southern China almost to Peking itself; this Taiping 
rebellion was a furious movement, yeasty with the first overtones 
of Christian ideas, and it was whipped finally only by foreign 
military intervention. Then, as now, it was felt that an orderly, 
stable China was essential to world peace and that t such peace 
could be assured only by crushing the revolt of the Chinese 
peasantry. The suppression of the Taiping rebellion put the cap 
on fundamental change in China for some sixty years, and the 
pressure generated by this delay grew more intense with each 
decade. Eventually, when the lid was lifted, China came apart 
in a series of explosions; like a string of firecrackers, each sputter- 
ing uprising generated another in a chain reaction of growing 
violence. Out of this chaos two distinct groups emerged, which 
40 



had clear but diverging ideas about what to do to end the 
chaos. 

The collapse of the Manchu Empire in 191 1 stripped China of 
her outward appearance of changelessness and stability. Within 
less than five years the first political lesson of government had 
been learned anew that the state rests on force. That was the 
age of the war lords, and China broke up into a patchwork of 
blood and unhappiness. Each war lord had his own army, each 
army its district. The great war lords governed entire provinces; 
their generals governed parts of provinces; their captains 
governed counties, cities, towns. Three hundred men could keep 
a county in subjection, levy taxes on it, rape its women, carry off 
its sons, batten on its crops. All those who were accustomed to 
govern were gone, and the soldiers who took over found with 
astonishment that they were government. Their will was law; 
paper they printed was money. Among themselves they fought 
as the whim took them ; coalitions formed and re-formed ; ambi- 
tion, treachery, and foul play became the code of Chinese politics. 
And each evil deed was sanctified by its perpetrator, who proclaimed 
it done for the unity of China. The only enduring legacy left by the 
war lords was their belief in force ; the only conviction that Chiang 
K'ai-shek and the Communists have shared for twenty years is the 
conviction that armed strength is the only guarantee of security. 

The war lords were purely destructive; in earlier ages such a 
period of anarchy might have lasted for generations before re- 
integration set in, but this was the twentieth century. All up and 
down the China coast and far up the rivers concessions had been 
wrung by foreign powers from the decadent Manchu govern- 
ment. On China's main rivers were steamers of foreign ownership, 
which were protected by gunboats flying foreign flags. Railways 
owned and managed by foreigners sucked profit out of China to 
foreign investors. China's tariffs were set and collected by 
foreigners ; so was the most profitable of internal revenues, the 
salt tax. The foreigners who lived in China had enormous con- 
tempt for both the Manchus and the later war lords, but they 
could not exist in island communities in the vastness of China; 
for their own purposes they had to create or convert to their use 
a body of Chinese who could K act as a bridge between themselves 
and the nation they wished to plunder. Western businessmen 
created Chinese businessmen in their likeness. New Chinese 

4* 



banks were developed ; old ones learned to substitute double-entry 
book-keeping for beaded counting-boards. The factories, steam- 
ships, mines, and railways that foreigners controlled needed a 
host of skilled Chinese to operate them; their success caused 
^Chinese businessmen to start similar projects, which needed the 
same kind of management and engineers. A new kind of Chinese 
began to appear, a naturalized citizen of the modern world ; a 
middle class was developing in a feudal country. 

No less forceful than the impact of Western armies and Western 
business was the impact of Western ideas. The new universities 
that were set up in China to teach the new sciences and skills 
created scholars and students of a new sort, who thought less of 
the Book of Odes and the millennial classics than they did of 
Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and Henry George. The adepts of the 
new learning smarted even more than the businessmen under the 
contempt, the brutality, and the indignity the imperial powers 
heaped on China; they gave brilliant intellectual leadership to 
the discontent within the land. The ferment seemed like a great 
undisciplined anarchy, more froth and foam than substance. But it 
arose from one basic problem the statelessness of China. The prob- 
lem had one basic solution internal unity and strength in China. 

The political instrument of the new merchant and educated 
class was the party known as the Kuomintang. The architect of 
the early Kuomintang, its very soul, was a sad-eyed dreamer 
called Sun Yat-sen. It is customary now in intellectual circles to 
sneer at the naivet6 with which he attacked world problems, but 
Sun Yat-sen was the first man to formulate a programme of 
action for all the complex problems of the Chinese people. It was 
as if some Western thinker had attempted to devise one neat 
solution for the problems of feudalism, the Renaissance and Refor- 
mation, the industrial revolution, and the social unrest of today. 
Sun Yat-sen was a Cantonese who had been educated in Hawaii; 
he participated in almost every unsuccessful revolt against the 
Manchu dynasty in the last decade of its existence, and he had 
lived the life of a hunted exile in Japan, America, and Europe. 
Almost every war lord who verbally espoused unity adorned his 
ambition with quotations from Sun Yat-sen; almost all ended by 
betraying him. The wretchedness of China, the burning elo- 
quence of Sun Yat-sen's cause within him, the examples of 
Western civilization in the countries of his exile, were all finally 
synthesized in his book San Min Chu /, or Three Principles of the People. 

4* 



The San Min Chu I is not a perfect book, but its sanctity in 
present-day China, among both Communists and Kuomintang, 
makes it by all odds the major political theory in the land. The 
book was a long time in maturing; it did not appear in print till 
shortly before Sun's death and then only as the transcript of a 
series of lectures he had given just before setting his party off on 
the greatest adventure in its history. The ideas of Sun Yat-sen, 
however, were current long before they were put into type. 
Sun's theory started by examining China. Why was she so 
humiliated in the family of nations? Why were her people so 
miserable? His answer was simple China was weak, uneducated, 
and divided. To solve the problem, he advanced three principles. 

The first was the Principle of Nationalism. China must win 
back her sovereignty and unity. The foreigners must be forced 
out of their concessions; they must be made to disgorge the spoils 
they had seized from the Manchus. China must have all the 
powers and dignities that any foreign nation had; she must be 
disciplined and the war lords purged. The second was the 
Principle of People's Democracy. China must be a nation in 
which the government serves the people and is responsible to 
them. The people must be taught how to read and write and 
eventually to vote. A system must be erected whereby their 
authority runs upward from the village to command the highest 
authority in the nation. The third was the Principle of People's 
Livelihood. The basic industries of China must be socialized; the 
government alone should assume^responsibility for vast indus- 
trialization and reconstruction. Concurrently with the erection of 
the superstructure of a modern economic system, the foundation 
had to be strengthened. The peasant's lot was to be alleviated; 
those who tilled the soil should own it. 

The doctrine of Sun Yat-sen won instant acceptance through- 
out the country. Few accepted it in its entirety, but it was a broad 
programme, and there was something in it to touch the emotional 
mainspring of almost every thinking Chinese. The new middle 
class took it to its bosom; even the proud rural gentry could go 
along on the general thesis that the war lords' strife and the 
foreigners must go. The years of exile and failure had been years 
of education for Sun Yat-sen. He began as a dreamer and an 
intellectual; but he learned, as all China did during the decade 
following the Manchu collapse, that dreams and theories alone 
were insufficient for the reorganization of the land. Thousands, 

43 



perhaps millions, were willing to admit that his theories were right, 
even to join his party. But the party needed force an armed tool 
to work its will. By the early igao's history had conspired to give 
Sun the strength he needed. First, the Russians had succeeded in 
establishing their own revolution against feudalism and were 
interested in revolution everywhere; they were willing to send to 
China not only political mentors to aid Sun Yat-sen, but battle- 
seasoned soldiers who could fashion an army for him. Secondly, the 
decade-long violence within China had by now produced young 
soldiers and officers who were interested in more than loot and 
plunder; they were interested in their country as an end in itself, 
and they sought political leadership for their military skills. 

In 1923, Sun Yat-sen was permitted by the local war lord to set 
up a nominal government in Canton. He had made such agree- 
ments before with other war lords when they had sought inspiring 
fagades for practical despotism; each time he had been betrayed 
and cast out when he tried to exercise more than nominal 
authority. This time it was to be different. Within a year this 
new government of Sun Yat-sen was the seat of an incandescent 
revolutionary movement. Sun set up in Canton a centre that was 
both military and political. Two Russian agents were his most 
conspicuous advisers Michael Borodin as political mentor and 
a general known as Galen l for the new army. Communists were 
brought into the movement and made members of the Kuo- 
mintang. The political centre was the training school for a host 
of flaming advocates of revolution, agents who were to circu- 
late through all China in the next few years to preach the new 
doctrines. The real strength, however, was in a school on the 
banks of the muddy Whampoa River, where an academy for the 
training of revolutionary officers was set up. This was to produce 
men who, knowing how to wield force, would wield it not for the 
sake offeree alone but in the name of a new China. To head this 
academy Sun Yat-sen chose a slim and cold-eyed Chekiang youth 
named Chiang K'ai-shek. 

No adequate biography of Chiang K'ai-shek will appear in 
our times. Many of those who could best tell of his career are 
dead; the others are either his bonded servants, who see him as a 
saint, or his desperate enemies who seek only his destruction. It 

1 Also known as Vassily Blucher, later commander of the Russian armies in 
Manchuria. 

44 



has been too dangerous too long in China to record the facts of 
Chiang's career, so that now all that is known, apart from a few 
idolatrous official biographies, consists of morsels of gossip. 

In Canton Chiang was already the young hero of the revolu- 
tion. The Russian advisers of Sun Yat-sen had been so taken with 
him that they had sent him to Moscow in 1923, for a six months* 
course in indoctrination. When he returned to head the Whampoa 
academy, he rose rapidly from comparative obscurity to domi- 
nance. The death of Sun Yat-sen in 1925 gave him almost 
unchallenged authority. 

By the spring of 1926 the revolutionary armies of the Kuomin- 
tang were ready to set forth on the famous Northern March from 
Canton to the Yangtze Valley to reclaim China from the war 
lords. Chiang K'ai-shek was the commander-in-chief. It was a 
motley host armed with discarded weapons of every conceivable 
foreign manufacture. It was staffed with Russian advisers; some 
of its key armies were commanded by repentant war lords who 
had seen the light, Before it went the political agents, Com- 
munist and Kuomintang, organizing peasants and factory workers 
and preparing the people of the countryside for the dawn of a 
new day. The army swept north on the very crest of a wave of 
revolutionary enthusiasm and seized Hankow, whose workers had 
already been organized and begun to strike in late summer. 
From Hankow the armies turned east down the Yangtze Valley, 
swept through Nanking and on to Shanghai. 

The advance of the revolutionary armies sounded like the ham- 
mers of doom to the foreign concession of Shanghai. From the 
interior came stories of riots, bloodshed, and butchery, of strikes 
that closed down all foreign shipping and factories, of Chinese 
soldiers killing white men and raping white women. The tide 
reached Shanghai in the spring of 1927. From within the city 
Communist agents organized the workers for a revolt, and on 
March 21, in a tremendous general strike, the entire city outside 
of the International Settlement closed down. The armed unions 
went on to make their strike one of the greatest of modern insur- 
rections. They seized police stations, government buildings, and 
factories so rapidly that by the time Chiang's Kuomintang armies 
arrived at the suburbs, the workers were in complete control of the 
native city and turned it over to the revolutionary government. 

Three weeks after the climactic victory the alliance of Com- 
munists and Kuomintang came to an end. What happened 

45 



during those three weeks is a matter of mystery. Overnight the 
racketeering gangs of the waterfront and the underworld 
materialized in Chiang's support. Trembling foreign business 
men were quickly apprised that Chiang was indeed a "sensible" 
leader, and foreign arms and assistance were supplied him. The 
revolutionary forces were weak and vacillating; units of Chiang's 
own armies made overtures to the Communists, for they sensed 
an impending crisis. And then suddenly, without a word of warn- 
ing, Chiang's deputies, assisted by cohorts from the underworld 
and blessed by foreign opinion, turned on the workers, disarmed 
them, executed their leaders, and forced the Communists under- 
ground by a purge that was to continue for years. 

The Kuomintang itself was astounded by this breach of faith 
and split into two separate groups, one under Chiang K'ai-shek 
the other under the left wing at Hankow. By 1928, however, the 
Kuomintang had knitted together again in a solid anti-Com- 
munist front and had achieved stability. The party was now 
completely respectable in the eyes of the foreign world and was 
recognized as the only legitimate government of China. It pro- 
ceeded to transfer the seat of its power from Canton to the 
Yangtze Valley. In the cities it controlled, the wheels of industry 
began to turn. But in the countryside Sun Yat-sen's programme 
of peasant reform died stillborn; the old system, aggravated by 
continuing civil war and commercial speculation, still loomed 
over the peasantry. The revolution had miscarried. 

What had happened? To understand the tragedy of the great 
uprising it is necessary to return to Canton and establish the 
personality of the historic antagonist of Chiang K'ai-shek the 
Communist Party of China. Like the Kuomintang, the Chinese 
Communist Party was born of intellectual ferment. It appeared 
much Jater on the scene of Chinese history and took its analysis 
and solution of China's problems from the example of the Russian 
revolution. The Communists agreed completely with Sun Yat- 
sen and the Kuomintang that the foreigners must be thrown out, 
the war lords annihilated; but they went a step further. They 
asked: For whose benefit should China be reorganized? They 
answered: For the Chinese peasant himself. 

To accomplish this it was necessary not only to achieve all the 
aims of the Kuomintang, but to go further, to smash in every 
village the shackles of feudalism that chained the peasant to the 
46 



Middle Ages. In the cities the new industrial workers of the 
factories and mills were to be the constituents of the new era. 
The savage exploitation of labour by the coastal entrepreneurs 
would have to be ended before industry could be a blessing rather 
than a new curse to China. The Communists brought to their 
early alliance with the Kuomintang all the discipline and 
zealotry that are characteristic of their movement everywhere. 
In its early days the Chinese Communist Party was organically 
linked with Moscow. The Russian delegation attached to Sun 
Yat-sen controlled the party completely and, under the strictest 
injunction from Moscow, committed it to unreserved subordina- 
tion to the Kuomintang. Communist agents spearheaded the 
great organizing drives that led the triumphal Northern March 
of the revolutionary armies. They converted the areas of combat 
into quicksands for their war-lord enemies; peasant and labour 
unions developed almost overnight as the masses rose to the 
first leadership they had ever known as their own. 

Chiang saw in the Communists a leadership as coldblooded 
and ruthless as his own. To his passionate nationalism their con- 
nection with Russia was wicked. His brief visit to Russia had given 
him an insight into the working of a dictatorial state along with a 
lasting dislike for the Russians. He saw the Communists as Russian 
agents, possessed of some magic formula that would tear the 
countryside apart in social upheaval and he hated them. For 
the first three years of his alliance with the Communists he bided 
his time. He needed both Russian arms and peasant support; he 
could not afford a break. His march to the Yangtze Valley, how- 
ever, brought him into contact for the first time with the highest 
rungs of the new Chinese industrial and commercial aristocracy. 
These men, no less than the foreigners, were terrified of strikes 
and labour unions; slogans of agrarian reform threatened to upset 
the entire system of rural commerce and landholding. Chiang 
suddenly found in the Shanghai business world a new base of 
support, a base powerful enough to maintain his party and his 
armies; with these men and their money behind him, he was no 
longer dependent on Russian aid or agrarian revolution. When 
he makes up his mind, Chiang acts swiftly. Before the Com- 
munist leaders had any inkling of what was happening, their 
movement had been beheaded, and within a year of the Shanghai 
coup Communism was illegal from end to end of China. 

47 



Chiang K'ai-shek was the chief architect of the new China that 
emerged. Occasionally, in fits of sulkiness, he would withdraw 
from the government for a few months to prove that only he 
could hold its diverse elements together; he always returned with 
greater prestige and strength than before. The new Kuomintang 
government was a dictatorship. It glossed itself with the phrases of 
Sun Yat-sen and Claimed that it was the ' * trustee J ' of the people, who 
were in a state of "political tutelage ". Its secret police were ubiqui- 
tous, while its censorship closed down like a vacuum pack over the 
Chinese press and Chinese universities. It held elections nowhere, 
for its conception of strengthening China was to strengthen itself, 
and it governed by fiat. This government rested on a four-legged stool 
an army, a bureaucracy, the urban business men, the rural gentry. 

The army was the darling of Chiang K'ai-shek. Chiang im- 
ported a corps of Prussian advisers to forge it into a powerful 
striking weapon. Its soldiers learned to goose-step, to use German 
rifles and artillery. Within the army was a praetorian guard con- 
sisting of the original group of Whampoa cadets. The young 
students of the military academy had been decimated in the early 
revolutionary battles, but those who survived were loyal to the 
Kuomintang before all else and faithful to Chiang as the symbol 
of the new China. As succeeding classes of students entered, the 
cadets rose in rank from captain to major to colonel. By the time 
the war against Japan broke out, an estimated forty of the 
Whampoa cadets were divisional commanders. About Chiang 
clustered a number of senior military men who shared his own 
background of war-lord education; they were men who belonged 
to no coherent group. They commanded the campaigns Chiang 
wished to fight, but never did they have any such affection or 
loyalty as he gave to the youths he trained himself. Chiang's 
army was the strongest ever seen in China. From 1929 to 1937 
there was not a year when he was not engaged in civil war. The 
base of his strength was the lower Yangtze Valley, while all about 
him lay the provinces controlled by war lords. These individually 
and then in coalition challenged his rule, and one by one he 
would either buy them off or destroy them. He gradually brought 
central China as far as the gorges of the Yangtze under his con- 
trol, until all China south of the Yellow River had acknowledged 
him as its overlord by the time the Japanese struck. 

Almost as large a figure as the army in the process of unifi- 
cation was the new bureaucracy Chiang was creating at Nanking. 
48 



China had never before had even the most primitive form of 
modern government. The new regime had a real Ministry of 
Finance, a real Ministry of Railways, a real Ministry of Industry. 
It had agricultural research stations and health bureaux, and 
although these bureaux scarcely met Western standards, they 
were the best China had ever seen. A Central Bank was created, 
which brought the first stable currency China had had in a 
generation. New roads were pushed through, stimulating com- 
merce and industry. New textbooks were written, new sciences 
cultivated. The scholars, students, and engineers who served 
in these administrations were neither devoutly faithful to Chiang 
nor happy about the Kuomintang dictatorship, but for all of 
them it provided the first opportunity to serve their country. 
They were men of ability and generally of integrity and here, 
for the first time, were careers open to their talents. 

The other two mainstays were the classes that formed the social 
basis of the government. The first, a relatively progressive element, 
was the businessmen on the coast and in the great cities. They 
had profited by the revolution. They had loosened foreign control 
of their customs; they dealt now with Western businessmen as 
with equals. The new government with its stable finance, its 
rational structure of taxation, gave them for the first time op- 
portunities that Western businessmen had enjoyed for decades. 
The government preserved law and order within the Yangtze 
Valley and constructed new railways. A wave of prosperity 
lifted Chinese commercial and industrial activity to new levels; 
exports and imports soared; production multiplied. 

In the countryside the Kuomintang rested on the landed 
gentry. The Kuomintang indeed wrote into its law books some 
of the most progressive legislation ever conceived to alleviate 
peasant misery but the legislation was never applied; it was 
window-dressing. The government reached back into antiquity 
and revived a system for the countryside that seemed simple. 
Each county was subdivided into units; each of these, called pao, 
consisted of a hundred families and was further subdivided into 
chia comprising ten families. Each pao and chia was to choose 
headmen who would be the transmission belt of all the new 
reforms the Kuomintang sought to establish. On paper the system 
looked fine. But actually the pao and the chia chieftains were the 
same landlords and gentry who had always ruled the village. 
Looking up at his government from below, the peasant could 
Go 49 



see no change. His taxes ran on as before; his rent and interest 
rates were just as high as ever; his court of appeal consisted of the 
same men who had always denied his demands. The revolution had 
brought him nothing. The Kuomintang, the party of the National- 
ist Revolution, was now securely established in every village, with 
roots in local party cells of the well-born and well-to-do. 

The driving spirit of the government was Chiang K'ai-shek 
himself. He could safely leave the tasks of party organization, 
administration, and reconstruction to his subordinates; with a 
minimum of guidance the pent-up talents of educated Chinese 
could direct the technical tasks of modernizing China. He 
devoted his own energies and interest to two great problems, the 
Communists and the Japanese. 

The alliance of Chiang K'ai-shek and the Communists against 
the war lords and imperialists had broken over the basic question 
of the peasant and his land. The Communists had tried but 
too late to bring the uprising to its appointed climax with 
redistribution of the land and reorganization of the whole system 
of feudal relationships in the village. In the turbulence that had 
accompanied the Northern March the peasants had time and 
again taken the law into their own hands and made their own 
judgments. You could hardly ask men to overthrow foreign 
imperialism and corrupt war lords and at the same time condone 
injustice and oppression in the village, where it struck nearest 
home. The Kuomintang wanted to limit the revolution to the 
accomplishment of a few specific aims such as the end of imperial- 
ism and war-lordism; it promised to take care of rent, credit, 
and all other peasant problems after it had the government 
established. But the peasants did not want to wait. 

When Chiang forced the Communists underground, he cut 
them off from the workers of the city, but he could not break their 
contact with the agitated peasantry. South of the Yangtze the 
Communists found the memory of the revolution still green in 
the hearts of the villagers, and their troops proceeded to establish 
a miniature soviet republic. Chiang waged unceasing war against 
this soviet republic in southern China. With his government 
buttressed by loans from America, his troops, German-armed 
and trained, tightened their blockade ring about Communist 
areas each succeeding year. The very war against the Com- 
munists drew war lords into alliance with Chiang for mutual 

50 



protection. The struggle against the Communists was savage 
and relentless. Within the areas that Chiang controlled, his 
police butchered Communist leaders; families of known Com- 
munist leaders were wiped out; students were watched and spied 
on, and possession of Communist literature was made a crime 
punishable by death. In Communist areas it was the village 
landlord who fared worse, and the hatred of the poor for the 
rich was given full rein. 

By 1934 the pressure on the Communists had grown too great, 
and bursting out of Chiang's blockade line, they performed that 
spectacular feat known as the Long March. Men and women, 
with bag, baggage, and archives, the Communists marched 
from southern China to re-establish themselves in the northwest. 
The winding route of the main column of 30,000 was over 6,000 
miles long. The Long March was a savage ordeal that stands out 
in Chinese Communist history as an emotional mountain peak. 
The sufferings endured and the iron determination with which 
they were mastered are beyond description. The countryside 
through which the march passed is still dotted with stone block- 
houses built by the government to hem in the Communists. 
The ferocity of the fighting ravaged the peasants in hundreds on 
hundreds of villages ; in many districts in southern and central 
China the name of Communist is still hated for the destruction 
this march wreaked on the countryside. In certain other districts 
the Communists succeeded in creating a political loyalty among 
the poorer peasants that lingered for years. The Communists 
finally established themselves at the end of 1935 in the northwest, 
in the areas just north of Yenan in Shensi, which later became 
their chief base. 

The Communists' arrival in Yenan coincided with a turning 
point both in their own history and in the party line. By now they 
had become an independent organization ; their ties with Moscow 
were nominal. The Soviet Union had re-established friendly rela- 
tions with Chiang K'ai-shek and left the Communist Party to fend 
for itself. From their new base the Communists raised a new call : 
Chinese unity against the Japanese! The response throughout 
China was instant, for the most profound emotion was touched. 
Japan had seized Manchuria in 1931, had pressed on down past 
the Great Wall, was pouring opium into northern China, was 
flagrantly abusing every international standard of decency. China 
was being humiliated by the Japanese army in a way never 



experienced before; nothing, it seemed, would satisfy Japan 
except control over the whole vast country. 

As for Chiang, he hated the Japanese with the stubborn fury 
that is his greatest strength and his greatest fault. His armies, he 
felt, were unable to stop the Japanese army; China's industry 
could not match the modernized power of Japan's industry; 
China was disunited. He wanted to wipe out the Communists 
first, establish unity, and then face Japan. The new Communist 
slogan forced him into an intolerable position. Its logic was 
irrefutable; why should Chinese kill each other when a foreign 
enemy was seeking to kill all Chinese? The Kuomintang ex- 
plained in whispers that it was only biding its time against the 
Japanese that when it was ready it would turn and defend 
China. At the same time students were arrested and jailed for 
anti-Japanese parades #nd demonstrations. Chinese journalists 
and intellectuals stood aghast at what they saw. The threat of 
national annihilation from without became graver with every 
passing day; within, the government spent its resources not on 
resistance to Japan but on a Communist witch-hunt. 

Gradually the call for unity began to penetrate the army. In 
the north, where the civil war against the Communists was still 
being pushed, the campaign began to flag and finally came to a 
dead stop. Chiang, flying to Sian to revive it, flew directly into a 
conspiracy and was kidnapped not by Communists but by war 
lords who refused to fight against Communists any more when 
they might be fighting against the Japanese. During his two 
weeks' internment Chiang met the Communists personally for 
the first time since 1927. No one has ever recorded in full what 
actually happened during Chiang's kidnapping and at his meet- 
ing with the Communists, but the results were electric; the civil 
war came to an abrupt end. Chiang recognized the right of the 
Communists to govern their own areas in the north within the 
loose framework of the Central Government. Their armies were 
to be incorporated into the national armies. The Communists 
were to give up their programme of revolution in the countryside. 
The government was to institute immediate democratic reforms, 
and Sun Yat-sen's programme as set forth in Three Principles of 
the People was to be the code of the land. 

This news came to the Japanese like an alarm in the night. 
Ever since China's Nationalist Revolution, Japan had been 
haunted by two prospects; one was the unity of China; the other, 
52 



Communism in China. Japan knew that a united, resurgent 
China would ultimately be the leader of all Asia. Japan feared 
Communism, too. Her own empire was based on thin, rocky 
islands poor in every material resource except manpower. Her 
armed might rested on the unthinking obedience of civilians and 
soldiers; any system that challenged them to thought was a 
menace to Japan. Thus, no matter which side won in China, 
Chiang K'ai-shek or Communism, Japan would lose. And to 
keep China permanently weak, disunited, and subordinate, 
Japan's continental armies had been constantly pressing down 
from the north, dabbling in war-lord politics, poisoning China 
with thousands of agents. The new accord between Chiang and 
the Communists meant that now there was the possibility not 
only of a united China but of a united China in which Com- 
munism was tolerated and condoned. There was no time to be lost. 
On the night of July 7, 1937, at the Marco Polo Bridge outside 
of Peking, Japanese garrison troops were engaged in field 
manoeuvres. Someone fired a shot; the Japanese claimed they 
had been assaulted the war had begun. 



CHAPTER 4 
WAR 

O u T o F T H E turbulence of thirty years the Chinese people had 
drawn a bitter but lasting education. The surging revolutionary 
tides that had swept the land had finally produced leaders who 
held themselves responsible for the nation in the eyes of history. 
Beyond all the hatred that the warring parties bore each other, 
they had come to share a conviction in China's unity and destiny. 
All Japan's plans were to be shattered on the rocks of this con- 
viction. The first volleys of the war against Japan cut across all 
the discontent within China across the slogans, the treachery 
and intrigue, the partisan zealotry. Even the imponderable 
working of the revolution itself within the depths of Chinese 
society was suspended for a time while the nation turned to face 
the threat of the Japanese. There could be no China at all, 
neither Communist nor Nationalist, in submission to Japan; there 
could be no dignity whatever, either for rich or for poor. 
The Japanese planned their 1937 operations on the mainland 

53 



on two planes, the military and the political. For five years they 
had been biting into China above the Great Wall, section by 
section, while the Chinese stewed in their internal wars and pro- 
tested to the League of Nations. This time the Japanese expected 
to wrench away the five provinces that lie below the Great Wall, 
within the bend of the Yellow River. Having seized the north, 
they hoped to persuade Chiang to yield them far-reaching con- 
cessions and special privileges in what remained of the land. 
Eventually the Japanese planned to tighten their economic- 
military-political grip till it clutched all China and the Chinese 
government had been reduced to the status of a subordinate 
colonial administration. If the Japanese had struck five years 
earlier, they might have succeeded, but in 1937 they were too late. 
Their operations in the north proceeded according to plan 
almost to the split second. Their columns opened out from Peking 
and Tientsin, struck northwest through the famous Nankow Pass, 
breached the Great Wall from the south, then wheeled around to 
come down through it again from the north on the passes that 
guard the northern flank of the iron-rich, coal-producing province 
of Shansi. They struck south down the railway that leads from 
Tientsin to Nanking and within a few months stood on the banks 
of the Yellow River. The resistance that met the Japanese in 
northern China was a combination of the very old and very new. 
The war lords, surprising everyone, chose to fight it out in align- 
ment with the Central Government, rather than yield to Japanese 
threats or promises. Their armies, however, were ragamuffin 
hordes. They had no common body of military tactics and skills, 
no mutual confidence, no modern organization. They broke like 
a wall of dust before the impact of Japan's steel-tipped legion. 
It was summer, and the tank-led columns of the Japanese darted 
almost at will across the yellow plains of northern China. Their 
air force ruled the skies; it strafed what little movement there was 
on Chinese highways. Japanese military intelligence in northern 
China was superb. The first phases of the campaign ran like drill- 
ground manoeuvres ; the Japanese columns cut down the railways 
and highways to occupy successive objectives on schedule. By all 
calculations the occupation of the key rail and road junctions 
should have finished the job. These were the centres where political 
agitation had bothered the Japanese ; these were the military keys to 
the land. And yet somehow, though no Japanese could quite tell 
why, the war went on. From the villages and mountains came 

54 



rifle fire. The Japanese sacked and looted; they raped the women 
of the north till their lust was worn; they branded the centres they 
held with terror, And yet about them, picking at them, bleeding 
them, grew a conspiracy of resistance that seemed to nourish 
itself from the earth alone. This was the resistance of partisan China. 

Partisan China was the domain of the Reds. By agreement with 
Chiang K'ai-shek they were to leave positional warfare to him and 
wage guerrilla warfare behind the enemy lines In the fall of 1937, 
starting from their small base in the barren sandlands of northern 
Shensi, the former Red troops, now restyled the Eighth Route 
Army of the Central Government, began in the fall of 1937 one 
of the most amazing adventures in arms of all times. It was to lift 
Communist military strength from 85,000 men in 1937 to over a 
million by the end of the war, Communist political control from 
1,500,000 to an estimated 90,000,000. In the early months of 
resistance Communist expansion raced over the hills. Their 
divisional and frontal units dissolved into regiments, the regi- 
ments into battalions and companies; and they trickled off through 
the Japanese lines into the countryside. Within four months after 
the outbreak of the war Communist troops were standing on the 
shores of the ocean, 700 miles from their starting point, and 
organizing a new war behind the enemy lines. 

The wells of hatred and terror that the Japanese had opened by 
their ferocity were ready to be tapped, and the Communists 
tapped them. The soldiers of war-lord armies who had fled the 
Japanese columns on the perilous highways had taken refuge in 
the hills; they were disorganized, lawless bands but they had 
guns. Some were incorporated into Communist cadres of resist- 
ance. The weapons the others abandoned or sold were soon being 
used to arm a grass-roots peasant resistance. The students of the 
northern universities had clamoured for war against Japan ; now 
that the war had arrived and was surpassing in barbarism any- 
thing they had conceived in their study halls, they too wanted to 
take part in it. They abandoned their classes, crossed the lines, 
and joined the resistance. Communist leadership was the rallying 
point for the entire movement north of the Yellow River, and every 
resource of human energy and intelligence, Communist, Kuomin- 
tang, and nonpartisan, was swiftly geared into a programme of 
social reorganization that provided a stable base for continuing 
warfare. Relations between the Communists and the government 
were good. Some of the early campaigns were exemplars of 



co-ordination; the only major check the Japanese army received in 
the north came at the magnificent battle of Hsinkou. There in 
the mountain passes government troops held a frontal position long 
enough to let the Communists filter across the enemy communication 
lines and cut an entire division almost to pieces from the rear. 

As the war in the north wore on, the Japanese columns closed 
down the channels of communication and supply till frontal war- 
fare became futile and impossible. By early 1938 the Red 
army abandoned all standard army framework; the divisions 
were now dissolved into a shifting net of marauding bands, 
depending on the people for support. The government of Chiang 
K'ai-shek, realizing the strength the Communists had generated, 
grateful for the demands partisan resistance was making on 
enemy strength, recognized the new system and authorized the 
creation of an autonomous partisan base beyond the Yellow 
River, deep in the enemy's rear. At a town called Fuping in 
western Hupeh, a few days' march from Peking, the first guerrilla 
government was established in January 1938; it included Com- 
munists, Kuomintang members, and nonpartisan officials in a 
regime sanctified by the blessing of the Central Government. 

Japanese calculations, which had been upset in northern China 
by partisan resistance, were even more thoroughly upset by what 
happened in the lower Yangtze Valley. Long before the Com- 
munists rooted themselves in the north, the attention of the 
Japanese staff and the interest of the entire world had concen- 
trated on the battle that was suffusing the entire Shanghai delta 
in flame and blood. This was Chiang K'ai-shek's war. 

Chiang watched the preliminary moves of the Japanese in 
northern China with indecision. For a month he see-sawed back 
and forth between the decision to fight and the knowledge of 
China's weakness. When he did decide to resist, he struck in a 
way that wrecked the smooth political-military structure of 
Japan's ambitions. The Japanese had hoped to fight in the north 
and to negotiate in the south. Chiang chose to precipitate a war 
of the entire people against the enemy by throwing down the 
gage of battle in his own bailiwick of the lower Yangtze, closest 
to his own internal bases, where his best troops were marshalled 
and ready. On August 13, 1937, he flung the best units of his 
German-trained army into action against the Japanese marine 
garrison in Shanghai. For a few days Chinese flesh and numbers 
56 



compressed the Japanese into a narrow strip by the banks of the 
Whang-poo River. The Japanese realized that they were con- 
fronted not with an isolated incident in northern China but with 
a war against the Chinese people. To win this war would require 
full mobilization of Japan's resources. The Japanese moved their 
fleet to offshore anchorages, marshalled their air force at For- 
mosa, and proceeded to pump steel at the massed Chinese troops 
in overwhelming tonnages. Not even today is there any accurate 
estimate of the carnage at Shanghai; Chinese casualties mounted 
to the hundreds of thousands as the blood and courage of the 
soldiers absorbed the shock of Japan's barrages. 

Chiang's decision to hold at Shanghai is now, as it was then, 
one of the most bitterly debated episodes of the entire war. It was 
symbolic, almost with the symbolism of caricature, of the per- 
sonality of the man. There was no hope of success in matching 
Chinese flesh against Japanese metal; a withdrawal might have 
salvaged some of the good units of the Chinese army for later 
operations in the hinterland, where they could meet the Japanese 
on more nearly even terms. These, however, were factual con- 
siderations, and Chiang's stubbornness refused to submit to them. 
The soldiers standing in the wet trenches and fed endlessly into 
the slaughter were a projection of an inflexible will to resist. Since 
Chiang had accepted war with Japan, he meant to fight it out his own 
way yieldingnofootofgroundthatwasnottakenfromhimbyforce. 

The resistance at Shanghai was futile in a military sense; in a 
political sense it was one of the great demonstrations of the war. 
It astounded the most world-weary of old China hands, and it 
proved beyond further question in the record of history how much 
suffering and heroism the Chinese people could display in the 
face of hopeless odds. The demonstration at Shanghai was even 
more valuable internally. The tale of the battle, carried into the 
interior by word of mouth, kindled a spreading bonfire of patriotic 
fervour. The line at the Yangtze gave time to mobilize the nation. 
For two months the Japanese battered at Shanghai. Then, by a 
clever outflanking movement to the south, they unpinned the 
Chinese line and swept it away in utter confusion to Nanking. 

Nanking, Chiang K'ai-shek's capital, fell on December 12, 
1937, and an historic orgy of several weeks of rape, lust, and 
wanton murder followed. The disaster all but unhinged Chinese 
resistance. The broken Chinese armies were so scattered and dis- 
organized that some even advertised the whereabouts of their 
Gi 57 



detachments in newspapers so that stragglers might rejoin their 
units. If the Japanese had struck inland immediately, they might 
have met no resistance more formidable than the hills and 
mountains; instead they waited. They felt that the loss of China's 
capital and great metropolis had eviscerated the nation's resist- 
ance and that Chiang would be willing to talk peace. 

The winter of '37-^38 worked a miracle in China. The seat of 
government was transferred to the upriver port of Hankow, 800 
miles from the sea, and the most complete unity of spirit and 
motive that China had ever known existed there for a few months. 
The Hankow spirit could never be quite precisely defined by those 
who experienced it there and then. All China was on the move 
drifting back from the coast into the interior and swirling in 
confusion about the temporary capital. War-lord armies from the 
south and southwest were marching to join the battle. The Com- 
munists were speeding their partisans deeper into the tangled 
communications that supported Japan's front. In Hankow the 
government and the Communists sat in common council, made 
common plans for the prosecution of the war. The government 
authorized the creation of a second Communist army the New 
Fourth on the lower Yangtze behind the Japanese lines; the 
Communists participated in the meetings of the Military Council. 

The elite of China's writers, engineers, and journalists con- 
verged on Hankow to sew together the frayed strands of resistance. 
By spring of 1938, when the Japanese resumed the campaign, 
with Hankow as their ultimate objective, the new armies and the 
new spirit had crystallized. In April 1938, for the first time in the 
history of Japan, her armies suffered a frontal defeat at the battle 
of Taierchwang. The setback was only temporary. Moving in 
two great arms, the Japanese forces closed on Hankow from the 
north and the east to pinch it off in the following fall. Almost 
simultaneously their landing parties seized Canton, the great port 
city of the south, and the Japanese rested on their arms a second time. 

On paper the Japanese strategy was perfect. China falls into a 
simple geographical pattern. Western China is a rocky, moun- 
tainous land; eastern China is flat and alluvial, with scarcely a 
hill to break the paddies for miles on end. Both western and 
eastern China are drained by three great rivers that flow down 
from the mountains across the flatlands to the Pacific Ocean. The 
Japanese army now controlled the entire coast and all the centres 
of industry. It also controlled the outlets of the three great rivers. 
58 



In the north it held the Peking-Tientsin area and the outlet of 
the Yellow River. In central China it garrisoned both banks of 
the Yangtze, from Shanghai through Nanking to Hankow. In 
southern China it held Canton and dominated the West River. 
With the cities, railways, and rivers under control, the Japanese 
felt that they could wait until a paralysis of all economic and 
transport functions brought Chinese resistance to a halt, and they 
waited. They were still waiting seven years later, when the 
Japanese army surrendered a ruined homeland to the Allies. 

The Japanese blundered in China. Why they blundered was 
best explained later by one of the shrewder statesmen of the 
Chungking government, General Wu Te-chen, who said, "The 
Japanese think they know China too much. 35 Japanese political 
and military intelligence in China was far and away the finest in 
the world, but it had concentrated on schisms and rifts, on per- 
sonalities and feuds, on guns and factories. Its dossiers on each 
province, each general, each army, contained so much of the 
wickedness and corruption of China that the accumulated know- 
ledge was blinding. The one fact that was obscure to them was 
that China was a nation. They had seen a revolution proceeding 
in China for thirteen years, but only its scum, its abortions, its 
internal tensions; they had not measured its results. They were 
fighting more than a coalition of armies; they were fighting an 
entire people. They had watched the infant growth of Chinese 
industries on the coast, had marked the new railways on the map. 
But the strength of the Chinese was not in their cities; it was in 
the hearts of the people. China was primitive, so primitive that 
the destruction of her industries and cities, her railways and 
machinery, did not upset her as similar disaster disrupted Europe 
in later days. China was rooted in the soil. As long as the rain fell 
and the sun shone, the crops would grow; no blockade of the 
Japanese navy could interpose itself between the peasant and his 
land. China had just emerged from chaos, but she was still so 
close to it that the disruption of war could be fitted into the 
normal routine of her life ; if, for example, it was necessary to move 
government, industry, people, and army into the interior, it could 
be done. There was an enormous elasticity in the system that Japan 
meant to wreck when it was struck, it yielded, but it did not break. 

Through the long months of 1938, as the Chinese armies were 
pressed slowly back towards the interior, they found their way 

59 



clogged by moving people. The breathing space of winter had 
given hundreds of thousands time to make their decision, and 
China was on the move in one of the greatest mass migrations in 
human history. It is curious that such a spectacle has not been 
adequately recorded by any Chinese writer or novelist. Certainly 
the long files of gaunt people who moved west across the roads 
and mountains must have presented a sight unmatched since the 
days of nomad hordes; yet no record tells how many made the 
trek, where they came from, where they settled anew. The 
government and the journals of China have recorded mainly 
those things that were important to the war, the movement of the 
armies, the officials, the universities, and the factories. 

The government began evacuation of factories and industry 
almost immediately on the outbreak of the war. The entire opera- 
tion was in the hands of one of the most brilliant and lovable 
men in China her Minister of Economic Affairs, Dr. Wong 
Wen-hao. Wong was a tiny man, a scholarly doodler. He had a 
deep cleft in his forehead that made him oddly attractive, and his 
smile was unfailing. Through all the later years of the war he was 
one of the few senior officials in the cabinet who were never 
accused of corruption by anyone his shining integrity lifted 
him above ordinary politics. China's prewar industry was a lop- 
sided growth; it was concentrated at the coast and in a few great 
river cities. Chinese private capital had invested overwhelmingly 
in textiles and consumer goods. Heavy industry, dominated 
by the government, was a diminutive tail attached to the body 
of the economy; steel production was never more than 100,000 
tons annually. The swiftness of the war in the north and the 
ferocity of the fighting at Shanghai threatened to consume almost 
overnight all the industry there was. Government records show 
now that in all some 400 factories, with something over 200,000 
tons of equipment, were moved in the retreat. These seem modest 
figures in the light of Russia's later accomplishments ; only by 
breaking them down can their significance be exposed. Wong 
abandoned almost all China's textile mills and consumer in- 
dustries to the enemy and concentrated on moving heavy 
industries and arsenals inland. China salvaged less than 10 per 
cent of her textile capacity, with perhaps 40 per cent of her 
machine shops and heavy industry, but she saved more than 80 
per cent of the capacity of her eleven obsolescent arsenals. 
This meant that the Chinese would be threadbare during the 
60 



following years, but that the army's minimum needs might be 
met. 

The early stages of the industrial hegira carried little glory. 
The removal from Shanghai started late; businessmen were 
reluctant to let their plants be moved; the government was 
slow in making its decisions. The first plant to go, the Shanghai 
Machine Works, one of the finest mechanical shops in the 
country, did not start up Soochow Creek till two weeks after the 
fighting began. Soochow Greek runs through the heart of 
Shanghai and skirted the battlefront. The machinery was loaded 
in rowboats, covered with leaves and branches for camouflage, 
and poled slowly upriver to the Yangtze; when air raids threat- 
ened, the rowboats sheltered in reeds by the side of the river. 
It was followed by other shops till the Japanese drive cut the 
city off from the Yangtze in early December. Because it was 
delayed too long, the Shanghai evacuation succeeded in moving 
only 14,000 tons of equipment before the enemy advance ended it. 

Shanghai, however, had proved the thing could be done, and 
by the spring of 1 938 dozens of movable plants in northern and 
central China were being taken down, repacked, and trans- 
shipped to the far interior. A major engineering operation was 
being performed while the national organism continued to 
function and resist. From the Yellow River one of the greatest 
textile mills in China, the Yufeng, set out on its trek to Szechwan, 
a province 1,000 miles away and without a single railway. 
In February it packed its 8,000 tons of machinery and bundled 
them off down the railway to Hankow. In May it kissed the 
railhead good-bye and set off by steamer upriver to the gorge 
mouth. In August it was repackaged again to fit on some 380 
native junks, which took it up the tumbling gorges to Szechwan; 
1 20 of the boats sank in the gorges, but the junkmen raised all 
but 21 and carried on. The convoy arrived in Chungking in 
April 1939; a patch of hilly ground had been cleared for its 
arrival, and by spring the company was busily training timid 
Szechwanese peasant women to tend the rusting spindles. 

An industrial wilderness stretched from Hankow on into the 
west. Whatever went inland had to be moved by hand. Coolies 
by hundreds and thousands hauled at blocks of steel weighing 
up to 20 tons. By the last week of Hankow's resistance removals 
had hit a stupendous pace. The Hankow power plant had been 
operating up to the very last days, for it was essential to the 

61 



functions of life, but it was impossible to leave behind in Hankow, 
the enormous 1 8-ton turbine, which would be irreplaceable after 
retreat to Szechwan. The dismantling process reached the power 
plant early in October, but the turbine could not be inched 
aboard a steamer until October 23, just two days before the 
Japanese entered the city. The removal of such massive machinery 
presented problems that the tiny river steamers could not handle; 
no steamer that could thread the gorges had a crane capable of 
lifting more than 16 tons. The Chinese settled the problem by 
lashing heavy machinery to pontoons, floating the pontoons, 
tying the pontoons to the steamers, and sending the whole through 
the rapids in tow. 

The new industries, resettled in Szechwan, were a Rube Gold- 
berg paradise. Steel factories were built with bamboo beams ; blast 
furnaces were supplied with coal carried in hand baskets. Copper 
refineries consumed copper coins collected from the peasantry, 
converted them into pure copper by the most modern electrolytic 
methods, then shipped the metal to arsenals buried deep in caves. 

The migration of China's universities paralleled almost pre- 
cisely the movement of her industries. Like industry, China's 
system of higher education had grown in thirty years of chaos; 
it too had concentrated along the coast and in the great cities, 
and it too was one of the elements of the new China that Japan 
most feared. Every major turning point in modern Chinese 
history has been signalized by student uprisings and intellectual 
discontent. Students had generated the anti-Manchu uprisings. 
Their riots and demonstrations touched off the national uproar 
of 1919, when even corrupt war lords were forced to repudiate 
the Treaty of Versailles. Student-led riots struck some of the 
most important notes in the rising crescendo of revolution of the 
1920*8. Finally, the students and their professors were the most 
enthusiastic and vociferous demonstrators against Japan, out- 
side of the Communist Party. 

The four great universities of northern China Peking National, 
Tsinghua, Yenching, and Nankai were particularly loathed 
by the Japanese. They singled out Tsinghua, which had been 
built with American money, for special treatment. They smashed 
its laboratories or removed its equipment to Japan and used 
the student gymnasium to stable Japanese horses. Nankai 
University was almost completely destroyed. In the basement of 
Peking University, the seat of China's intellectual renaissance, 
62 



Japanese special police set up examination headquarters for their 
political and military inquisition. 

When the Japanese attacked in the summer of 1937, most of 
the students were away on summer vacation. The Ministry of 
Education sent out a call for them to appear at two rendezvous. 
One was to be at Sian in the north, on the inner bank of the 
Yellow River, the other at Ghangsha, south of the Yangtze. 
From Sian the students of two colleges were told to move to 
southern Shensi. When they arrived at the end of the railway, 
they set out on the tail end of their journey for a i8o-mile march 
over the rugged Tsingling mountain range. The deans of the 
university were the general staff of the march, and they divided 
their i,5OO-odd men and women into sections of 500 each. Each 
unit was preceded by a police section, a foraging squad, and a 
communications squad; its rear was brought up by pack animals 
carrying rice and wheat cakes and by a few wheezing trucks 
crawling over unimproved roads. The foraging squads descended 
on villages, bought all the fresh vegetables they could find, and 
had enough greens on hand to start a meal when the rest of the 
students arrived with their cooking pots. The road they followed 
runs over some of the most primitive terrain in China. Local 
authorities quartered students in stables and farmhouses. En- 
gineering students set up receiving stations to catch the evening 
broadcasts; next morning they hung up posters as news bulletins 
for the students farther back to read. For the villagers these 
bulletins were a first exposure to the phenomenon of current news. 

As the Japanese drove farther inland, university after university 
packed up and moved away. Some evacuated their campuses 
within a few days of the Japanese entry; the students of Sun 
Yat-sen University were still poling boats bearing the college 
library out of the northern suburbs of Canton when the Japanese 
entered from the south. The agriculture department of National 
Central University decided that its prize herd of blooded cattle 
was too valuable to leave behind, and all through the summer 
of 1938 the cattle grazed their way inland just a few weeks ahead 
of the Japanese spearheads; not till the summer of 1939 did they 
finally reach the quiet interior, where the bulls settled down to 
to bring joy to the scrawny, inbred cows of Szechwan. Of China's 
1 08 institutions of higher learning, 94 were either forced to move 
inland or close down entirely. And yet the entire educational 
system had been re-established by the fall of 1939, and 40,000 

63 



students were enrolled in the refugee colleges, as against 32,000 
who had been registered in the last academic year before the war. 

The transferred institutions of learning clustered mainly in 
three centres. One was near Chungking, another near Chengtu 
in western China, the third at Kunming, capital of Yunnan. 
Each of these centres differed in texture and quality. The 
universities in the Chungking suburbs, under strict government 
control, were always infected by the capital's prevailing mood. 
The universities about Changtu took refuge on the beautiful 
campus of the missionary West China Union University, where 
they were sheltered in relatively adequate quarters and, under 
the protection of Canadian and American missionaries, preserved 
their academic integrity almost inviolate; their scholastic 
standards remained consistently the highest throughout the 
war. The most important universities of northern China, how- 
ever, all trekked on to 'the far southwest, where they combined 
at Kunming for the duration of the war as the National South- 
west University. The northern universities had been noted before 
the war for their brilliant intellectual life, their advanced and 
sparkling political alertness; arriving in Kunming, they estab- 
lished themselves in squalor. The students were camped four, 
six, and eight to a room, some of them domiciled in a rat-ridden, 
cobwebbed abandoned theatre; they ate rice and vegetables 
and not enough of these. The government, always suspicious 
of the advanced political views of the northern universities, 
watched these refugee institutions like a hawk, tightening the 
net of surveillance closer about them with each passing year. 
In the beginning it did not matter the universities were too 
happy at having escaped the Japanese to care. If the students 
lived hard, they knew that all China, too, was suffering. As the 
years wore on and teachers hungered, as budgets were made a 
mockery by inflation, the National Southwest University began to 
re-assert itself politically and by the close of the war had become 
the principal seat of political discontent in southern China. 

The migrations of factories and universities were the most 
spectacular. How many more millions of peasants and city folk were 
set adrift by the Japanese invasion no one can guess estimates 
run all the way from three to twenty-five million. The peasants 
fled from the Japanese; they fled from the great flood of the 
Yellow River, whose dykes had been opened to halt the Japanese 
armies; they fled out of fear of the unknown. The workers who 
64 



accompanied the factories numbered perhaps no more than 
10,000; they came because without them the machines would 
be useless. The restaurant keepers, singsong girls, adventurers, 
the little merchants who packed their cartons of cigarettes or 
folded their bolts of cloth to come on the march, probably 
numbered hundreds of thousands. The little people who accom- 
panied the great organized movements travelled by foot, sampan, 
junk, railway, and ricksha. Thousands crusted the junks moving 
through the gorges; hundreds of thousands strung out over the 
mountain roads like files of ants winding endlessly westward. There 
is no estimate of the number who died of disease, exposure, or hunger 
on the way; their bones are still whitening on the routes of march. 

The war in China had settled into new moulds by the summer 
of 1939. The trek was over; the wheels of what little industry 
had been salvaged were turning again in new homes; the 
universities were drawing up their fall curricula. The shattered 
armies were digging in on the hill lines. The front now ran in 
squiggly lines along the foothills of the west and along the rims 
of all the great river valleys. In the north the Communists 
began to dig deeper and deeper into the sleepy consciousness of 
the villagers ; cut off from Chungking, they fashioned new tools 
of government and grew wiser and stronger each year. In central 
and southern China the loose federation of the Central Govern- 
ment and the war lords began to run in familiar ruts; only in 
Chungking, where the bombs fell from spring to autumn, the 
old spirit persisted for a few more years. 

China did not realize for some time longer that it had arrived 
at a dead end. Meanwhile the Japanese hailed each of their new 
campaigns as a climactic thrust at Chungking, and the Chinese 
armies fought desperately to ward them off. These campaigns 
were small but bitter, part of a new pattern of war that the 
Japanese high command had settled on. The new pattern was 
to keep the fronts in a constant state of imbalance; new divisions 
and cadres were blooded in combat, then removed to reserve 
areas for use in future campaigns. The Japanese erected new 
industries along the coast in their rear and tied what remained 
of the Chinese economy into Japan's conveyor system. 

The trouble with almost all the writing that war correspondents 
did in China was that it was built on press conferences and com- 
muniqus. We used phrases the world understood to describe 

65 



a war that was incomprehensible to the West. Chinese com- 
munique's, written by obscure men who had never smelled gun- 
powder or heard a shot fired in anger, spoke of thousands of 
men engaged, of bloody operations, of desperate attacks and 
counterattacks. The Chinese put out such communiques for 
years, in the beginning because they themselves believed that 
the Japanese were still intent on smashing through the mountains 
to the heartland beyond. Long after, they had ceased to believe 
their own statements, Chinese wordsmiths were still glossing 
the grimy, squalid contests at the front with the polished rhetoric 
of earlier days. There were no real fronts, no barrages, no break- 
throughs, anywhere on the China front, but men wrote of them 
of supply trains, logistics, encirclements. The Chinese news- 
papers themselves did not believe the reported claims of thousands 
on thousands of Japanese being trapped or encircled, but they 
printed them just the same. The foreign press became cynical. 
Sometimes the exaggerations were too difficult to take straight. 
Once American Army intelligence found there were only 30,000 
Japanese engaged in an action; the Chinese military spokesmen 
reported 80,000 in action, but the communiques recorded enemy 
casualties totalling 120,000. 

The campaigns the Japanese fought between 1938 and 1944 
were foraging expeditions rather than battles. They had no greater 
strategic objective than to keep the countryside in terror, to 
sack the fields and towns, to keep the Chinese troops at the front 
off balance, and to train their own green recruits under fire. 
Most of them were known as rice-bowl campaigns, because they 
occurred most frequently in central China, the rice bowl of the 
land. The Japanese would concentrate several divisions, plunge 
deep into the front, ravage the countryside, and' then turn back. 
The Chinese would counter by envelopment; their units would 
fall back before the thrusts, then close in on the flanks and rear 
to pinch off the garrison supply posts that the Japanese set up 
to feed their advance. The Chinese could never do more than 
pinch off the Japanese salients and force them back into their 
dug-in bases; to do more than that would have required a weight 
of metal and equipment that Wong Wen-hao's transplanted 
industry could not hope to provide. The result was the permanent 
exhausting stalemate known as the China war. 

This China war was fought along a flexible belt of no-man's- 
land, 50 to 100 miles deep, all up and down the middle of 
66 



China. In this belt of devastation the Chinese had destroyed 
every road, bridge, railway, or ferry that might aid the Japanese 
in one of their periodic thrusts; the only Chinese defence was to 
reduce the country to immobility. Japanese and Chinese troops 
chased each other across the belt for six years; the peasants died of 
starvation, the troops bled, the villages were burned to the ground, 
towns changed hands as many as six or seven times, and yet for 
six years the front remained stable with few significant changes. 

One of the typical campaigns of this period was proceeding in 
southeastern Shansi in the summer of 1939. Shansi is an im- 
portant province it is laden with coal and has the most con- 
siderable iron ores in China south of the Great Wall. It nestles 
into the elbow of the Yellow River, and its rugged mountains 
dominate the plains of northern China. By early 1939 the main 
Chinese positions in the province were cut into the slopes of the 
Chungtiao Mountains, which lie on the southern boundary, 
just north of the Yellow River. The guerrilla areas of the Com- 
munist Eighth Route Army were behind the Japanese strong 
points and around them ; in front were Central Government troops. 

I 1 went up to see this campaign in the fall of 1939 the first 
time I had visited the Chinese army at the front. In the next 
six years I saw the same sights over and over again, each year 
more drab, each year less inspiring. 

I started out with a column of Chinese troop reinforcements, 
marching north to the line from the railhead on the Lunghai 
line. The troops were strung out over the hills in long files, 
trudging along without discipline or fixed pace. The padding 
of their straw-sandalled feet made the dust lift knee-high about 
them, and for miles away eyes in the hills saw an army marching 
by serpentines of dust in the sky. The commander of each unit 
rode at its head on his bony horse. Behind him were the foot 
soldiers, and behind them came the baggage train coolie 
soldiers carrying ammunition boxes slung from staves on their 
shoulders; men burdened with sacks of rice; the company 
kitchen, consisting of a single soot-blackened cauldron carried 
by two men, bringing up the rear. This column had several 
serviceable pack guns slung on mules. At that time the whole 
Chinese army had about 1,400 pieces of artillery all told for a 
front of 2,000 miles. A single pack howitzer loaded on muleback 
looked heavier, more powerful, more important, than an entire 
l The "I" throughout is Theodore H. White. 

67 



battery of Long Toms. Later in the war animal-drawn baggage 
trains became a rarity, but this was 1939, anc ^ tne column I 
accompanied had one it crawled along even more slowly 
than the slogging foot soldiers. It was loaded high with sacks 
of rice and with military gear. On the sacks of rice one or two 
soldiers would be stretched dozing in the sun; the driver cracked 
his whip smartly over the animals, and the wheels screamed 
for lack of greasing, but no matter how the cart pitched in the 
rutted road, the soldiers stayed sleeping on their sacks. There 
was no hurry, for the war had lasted a long time already and 
would last years more. On wet days the march was a column 
of agony, the soldiers soaked through and through, their feet 
encased in balls of clay and mud. 

Traffic to the front was two-way. There was the insistent beat 
of the marching men plodding forward, and in the opposite 
direction came the derelicts of the battlefield. The sick and the 
wounded usually made their way back to the rear on foot, on 
their own. A serious head wound or a bad abdominal wound 
meant death at the front, for the medical service could never 
move these men to operating stations in time for help. Those 
who could walk but who obviously were no longer of military 
usefulness were given passes that permitted them to make their 
way back by themselves. These were pitiful men, limping along 
over the mountain passes, dragging themselves up by clutching 
rocks or trees, leaning on staves. You met them at the saddle of 
each pass as they sat resting from the long climb and looking 
out over the next valley and next hill with glazed eyes. More 
rarely you saw sick or wounded carried by stretcher to the rear. 
They smelled horribly of wounds and filth, and flies formed a 
cloud about them or even made a crust over their pus-filled 
eyes or dirty wounds. 

We crossed the Yellow River in dirty flatboats and then moved 
up over thinner passes to the front. We followed hard on the heels 
of the Japanese army retreating through the Hsin River valley. 
It was fall, the season of the millet harvest, and the kaoliang too 
was ripe. Chinese valleys are beautiful to look at from the 
outside, before you know the burden of sorrow and superstition 
within each village wall. When the road was in the clear on the 
ridge, you could see clouds of chaff puffing into the air from 
threshing floors where the peasants were flailing the grain from 
the husks. The persimmons were ripe and red, glowing from 
68 



the thin branches of trees from which the leaves had long been 
blown. The earth was being ploughed for winter wheat, and it 
smelled good ; in some of the fields the thin blades of the new 
crop coloured the soil with green, while in the next patch the 
heavy pink-and-brown kaoliang ears hung down from tall 
stalks to brush our heads as we rode past. 

The Japanese had just left, but they had blazed a black, scarred 
trail of devastation across the countryside. You might ride for 
a day through a series of burned villages that were simply huddles 
of ruins. In some places the roads were so torn that not even 
Chinese mountain ponies could carry you down the ditches cut 
across them. You had to pick your way down on foot and lead 
your horse after you or ride for hours on the crest of a barren 
ridge looking out into the hills beyond. Then there would be a 
single hut standing by itself in the vastness of the hills; with roof 
fallen in and timbers burned black, it would stand as a symbol 
of the desolation that ran from end to end of no-man's-land. 

The stories the villagers told were such tales as I heard repeated 
later after every Japanese sortie. The peasants had fled before the 
Japanese advance. When they did not flee voluntarily, they were 
forced to leave by government edict, and they took with them 
everything from seed grain to furniture. They bundled their pigs 
and cattle off into the hills, hid their clothes and valuables in the 
ground, and retired to the mountains to build mat sheds and 
wait for the armies to force a decision. The Japanese entered a 
barren wasteland. They had been held up by floods, and when 
they reached their key objectives they had two weeks' growth of 
beard; caked with mud, they were exhausted and furious. 

In some of the districts through which I passed, every woman 
caught by the Japanese had been raped without exception. 
The tales of rape were so sickeningly alike that they were mon- 
otonous unless they were relieved by some particular device of 
fiendishness. Japanese soldiers had been seen copulating with 
sows in some districts. In places where the villagers had not had 
time to hide themselves effectively, the Japanese rode cavalry 
through the high grain to trample the women into showing them- 
selves. The Japanese officers brought their own concubines with 
them from the large garrison cities women of Chinese, Russian, 
Korean, or Japanese nationality but the men had to be serviced 
by the countryside. When the Japanese transport system broke 
down in the mud, peasants were stripped naked, lashed to carts, 

60 



and driven forward by the imperial army as beasts of burden. 
Japanese horses and mules were beaten to death in the muck; 
on any road and all the hills you could see the carcases of their 
animals rotting and the bones of their horses whitening in the 
sun. The Chinese peasants who were impressed to take their places 
were driven with the same pitiless fury till they too collapsed 
or were driven mad. 

It took two weeks of riding and walking to get to the front. From 
a regimental command post I was led up the bank of a hill to the 
crest covered with stalks of tall wheat. With a soldier, I ran silently, 
crouching behind the wheat, and then dropped in convenient 
position. The man parted the wheat carefully and pointed down 
into the valley. There were whitewashed houses in the distance 
and the vague outline of a walled town. " Those are the Japanese," 
he whispered, pointing vaguely. I stared harder. Then I noticed 
something moving in the grain fields not far from us. " What's 
that?'' I asked. The soldier did not even turn to follow my 
finger. " Those are the peasants," he said; "they have to harvest 
the grain, you know it is the harvest season." Even the Japanese 
could understand that; they were peasants themselves. Except 
in the savagery of their raids they too could be neutral to the 
people who worked in the fields. 

I travelled the front in Shansi for 30 or 40 miles that week; 
in later years I travelled it for many more miles in many provinces. 
It was always anti-climax. I saw nothing anywhere but detached 
clusters of men in foxholes who were guarding rusting machine- 
guns or cleaning old rifles. Chinese outposts were clusters of 
twenty or thirty men linked to their battalion headquarters by 
runner, from battalion headquarters to division command by 
telephone. The Japanese were usually disposed in villages with 
concentrations of two or three hundred men supported by light 
field artillery. You could look down on the Japanese from the 
hills for over a thousand miles; at any point there would be five 
times as many Chinese soldiers as Japanese. Yet always the 
Japanese had heavy machine-guns and field artillery; before any 
armed Chinese could move across the open mile or two to get at 
the Japanese, he would be cut down by enemy fire, which no 
support in his army's possession could neutralize. 

It was all quiet on the China front in 1939. It was to be all 
quiet in the same way, for the same reasons, for five more long 
years. 
70 



CHAPTER 5 

STALEMATE 

1 wo YEARS WERE needed to bring the war back from 
the tranquil front in southern Shansi to the open Pacific two 
years of confusion in which the world watched a series of balancing 
acts in the hills of China without perceiving their inner meaning 
or historic significance. China's front lines were secure by 1939; 
the government was re-established ; war had become the normal 
way of life. During the first few months after the migration the 
government hammered out some general routines of administration 
and built a complex administrative structure above them. There 
were very few mysteries about the way the Chinese ran their war. 
The war rested on the peasant, who supplied the two essentials 
of food and manpower. With the food he raised, the government 
fed the army, the Kuomintang, the arsenal workers, and the 
bureaucracy. With the manpower the peasant supplied, the 
government kept recruits trudging to the front, built the roads, 
moved essential tonnages. Ultimately all things, whether military 
or political, resolved themselves into a peasant, dressed in torn 
blue or grey gown, straining to supply the raw energy of re- 
sistance. The movement of an army, the building of an American 
airfield for B-2g's, the construction of shelter, the organization 
of supply, all could be reduced to the number of peasant hands 
available and the number of sacks of rice they could produce to 
meet the crisis. All China's calculations were balanced on the 
productivity of the peasant farmer. This was true even of arma- 
ment production and specifically of the source of China's nitrates 
for explosives there, too, the peasant was the key man, for the 
Chinese got their nitrates from the excrement of the peasant's body, 
which was carefully collected and used in compounding gunpowder. 
At the beginning of the war the peasant was taxed in money, 
and with this money the government bought his grain. The 
monetary system began to sag in 1941 under the weight of in- 
flation, and the government, on the advice of an American 
economist, shifted to a tax in kind. For this new tax the govern- 
ment calculated its requirements directly in sacks of grain; it 
allocated a quota to be raised by each province; and the 



provincial authorities broke this quota down by hsien, or counties, 
and finally by villages. The old chieftains in each village made 
sure that the poorest peasant always bore the largest share. 
The new tax had the one virtue of making exquisitely clear just 
what was the substance of war-making power and politics. The 
peasant paid off to his local officials in grain; the local officials 
took their cut of what they received and passed on the rest to the 
government; the government then paid each of its functionaries 
in bulging sacks of hard grain, whose value far outweighed the 
wads of paper money that made up payrolls. 

The new tax was a symbol of the changes the war was forcing 
on the Koumintang. From the day of its maturity the Kuomin- 
tang had rested on an association of the businessmen of the coast 
and the landed gentry of the countryside. The businessmen, 
the merchants, and the manufacturers of the coast had been 
wiped out by the Japanese invasion, ancj the government now 
got its political support almost exclusively from the gentry. 
This shift was not clear on the surface. Indeed, a survey of senior 
appointive officials in 1940 showed that 50 per cent came from 
the two downriver commercial provinces that had always been 
the chief Kuomintang bailiwicks 35 per cent from Kiangus 
alone, 15 per cent from Chekiang, the Generalissimo's home 
province. The shift became evident only in studying the things 
the government failed to do and asking whom all its sins of 
omission benefited. It was obvious, for example, that the grain 
tax was being collected in double portion from the small peasants, 
while the rich were evading it. The government winked at this, 
left collection of the grain tax in the hands of local officials, and 
made no protest as long as grain was forthcoming. In bulletins 
and speeches government officials thundered against the hoarding 
that was jabbing inflation on to successive pinnacles, and every- 
one knew that the great hoarders were the landlords; yet no 
action was ever taken. The government rested on the landlord, 
the landlord on the peasant. To release the peasant energies 
from their time-locked bitterness, to marshal these energies 
against the foreign enemy, would require the harshest action 
against the gentry who interposed themselves between Chung- 
king and the paddy fields. The gentry was composed in part of 
former war lords who still had military strength and in greater 
part of the men who were the girders of the local Kuomintang 
72 



machine. The government felt the balance was too delicate to 
survive any fundamental reform. 

This internal balancing act was only one of a series. It was 
paralleled by the military balancing act. The Japanese held 
China with about fifteen or twenty divisions approximately 
a million men. Their divisions were disposed along the coast, 
along the railways, in the river valleys; each of their garrisons 
was bound to the rest by a modern system of communications. 
They held strategic central positions. Along the rim of these 
positions, in an enormous continental semicircle, were the 
Chinese troops, approximately 4,000,000 of them, pinned 
down by primitive roads and lack of transport. To move a Chinese 
division from northern to central China by foot might take a 
month; a Japanese division could be shifted from Peking to 
Hankow in ten days. It meant that in a war of manoeuvre the 
Chinese were licked before they began; their only hope was to 
have enough troops at each point of danger to meet any reason- 
able threat. 

Three or four key areas had to be held: the gorges of the 
Yangtze in the heart of the land, the Yellow River bend at Tung- 
kwan in the north, the flanks of Yunnan in the southwest, 
Changsha and the rice bowl in the east. Each of these danger 
areas was bolstered by a solid block of Chinese troops under 
reliable commanders. All but one of the key areas were manned 
by reliable troops of Chiang's own personal " central" army; 
the one exception was at Changsha, where Hsueh Yueh, a peppery 
Cantonese who had feuded with Chiang K'ai-shek in the years 
before the war, won the right to command by his exceptional 
military ability. Between these key areas motley provincial 
and local levies were scattered. The vital lower Yangtze front 
was held by Ku Chu-tung, a zealot who would surely pay as 
much attention to Communist expansion as to the Japanese. 
Commanders of the secondary areas were usually provincial 
war lords who stood outside the pale of Chiang K'ai-shek's 
confidence. At one time half of the eight or nine war areas 
facing the Japanese were commanded by men who within the 
previous fifteen years had fought or offered to fight open civil 
war against Chiang K'ai-shek. 

All these troops arrived fresh at their new places in 1939. In 
1940 and '41 they were busy digging in. Chungking was too far 
away to exercise more than nominal control, and the armies 

73 



settled down to govern their districts; they made and removed 
county magistrates and judges, collected taxes, passed laws. 
Some of the armies felt so secure that the soldiers engaged in 
private farming to supplement their rations. Directives from 
Chungking were ignored or obeyed as circumstances suggested. 
There was no real central system of supply for this Chinese 
army; each divisional commander was given a sum of money 
and told to fend for himself. The straining arsenals of the Central 
Government could produce at most some 15,000,000 bullets 
a month and a few thousand shells for guns and mortars. This 
was an average of four bullets per man per month. No sane 
commander would dare to plan an offensive with so little reserve, 
and gradually the spirit of attack eroded; ammunition was 
hoarded till it grew old and stale. In 1943 a convoy of ox-drawn 
carts was seen carrying to the front rifle bullets that bore on their 
cases tl^e legend, "Made in 1931." Chungking was far away; 
it took months to cover the rutty roads from its arsenals to the 
battle lines of the north. No commander could hope to meet a 
crisis with a plea to Chungking for emergency supplies a man 
had to fight with what lay in his own storehouses. 

Another balance existed in the trade and commerce of this 
interim period. The world watched the blockade of China with 
concern when the French railway to the southwest was cut off; 
the Burma Road acquired the significance of a symbol as the 
only breach in the blockade. Actually all Chinese adminis- 
trators knew this the road and the railway were only minor 
factors in the supply of China then. The Japanese blockade 
until late 1941 was a sieve, punctured by one of the greatest 
smuggling rings in history. It was estimated that half a million 
men were employed just in the underground railway that brought 
gasoline from offshore boats through the rocky inlets of the 
southeastern coast to ,the Chinese government. The venal 
Japanese army co-operated with Chinese profiteers. Cloth, 
rubber tyres, and medicines were brought in by private enter- 
prisers in as large quantities as gasoline and other critical 
materials for the government, and this was anything but a one- 
way trade; Chinese tungsten, tin, and antimony for Japanese 
arms plants went out to the enemy over the same routes. Both 
the Japanese and the Chinese were aware of what was going 
on, and government agents participated actively. The Chinese 
Liquid Fuel Control Commission paid all the haulage and 

74 



brokerage expenses for gasoline smuggled in and the full price 
for any quantity lost en route through enemy action. The China 
National Aviation Corporation, a government agency, bribed 
the way for high octane gasoline right through the Japanese 
army lines at Canton for use on the single vital airline that bound 
China together. Chinese Communists bought guns, pistols, and 
gasoline in enemy-garrisoned towns. 

It was a curious front. The Chinese mail service crossed the 
line regularly with letters from Chungking to all the major 
cities occupied by the Japanese and back again. On the Indo- 
Chinese border the Chinese officers bought the rice to feed their 
troops from dealers who carried it from Japanese-controlled 
areas facing them. Government officials remitted money regularly 
to their families in Shanghai and Peking and received reports 
of their properties held by the enemy. 

The stalemate was reflected in Chungking by enormous 
cynicism and unhappiness. The war had become neither war nor 
peace, but a shadow world of imitation reality, in which neither 
existed. All the old strains began to re-assert themselves, and the 
greatest was that between the government and the Communists. 
The union between government and Communists had not been 
thought through to a conclusion by either side; it rested perilously 
on the one specific point of defence against the Japanese, and 
when the attack stopped, the union began to fall apart. To create 
a stable base that might have power of its own a regeneration of 
Chinese society would have been prerequisite, and the regenera- 
tion of society was revolution something on which the two 
parties could not agree. 

The fundamental cause of cleavage was the expansion of the 
Communist Party. Communist influence and arms were growing 
month by month behind the enemy lines. Communist head- 
quarters were still in Yenan, in northern Shensi, but by early 
1939 the nuclear northern Shensi area had become only a small 
fragment of the areas the Communists controlled, although it 
was still the most significant. Their greatest strength already lay 
beyond the Yellow River, along the coast, in the lower Yangtze 
Valley. The early Red troops had been decimated in the first 
years of war ; the new Red army, native to northern China, was 
commanded by fresh young lieutenants and captains who had 
never heard of Communism before the war began. In Yenan, as 

75 



in Chungking, the same old names persisted in high councils; 
but in the field of Red operations new leadership was rising 
from the grassroots. In essence the Communists relied on the 
people around them for support. They had no safe rear area 
with millions of peaceful peasants; the areas they controlled were 
criss-crossed with Japanese lines of communications and studded 
with Japanese garrisons and pillboxes. If they were to maintain 
pressure against these Japanese, the Communists could never 
rest. In defending themselves they were forced to agitate or die, 
to keep public support at fever pitch or see it perish. 

Their agitation and expansion behind the Japanese lines 
brought them into incessant friction with government units. The 
Japanese advance had left pockets of government troops in both 
northern and central China. As the Communists organized 
the countryside on a new social basis for support against the 
Japanese, they clashed again and again with government troops 
and officials. Civil and military government were one and the 
same thing to them it was total war, and there were no neutrals. 
The old village elders appointed by the government before the 
war, the middle-aged county magistrates, were unable to adapt 
themselves to rugged partisan warfare. Those who were able 
to make the transition remained with the people; those who 
were too old and brittle to change were removed on one pretext or 
another by the partisans, who sought justification for their acts 
in the war against Japan. Similarly, isolated government units 
in Communist areas found themselves being sucked into Com- 
munist-style war; when they were unwilling or unable to co- 
operate, there was friction, and the two sides charged each other 
with bad faith, with attacking each other. As the years wore on, 
the government apparatus behind the Japanese lines dissolved, 
was absorbed, and was replaced by a completely new form of 
resistance under Communist control. 

The first armed clash between the two elements came in the 
summer of 1938. From then on, bands of Communist or govern- 
ment troops in remote areas, isolated from their own high 
commands, fought each other with increasing frequency. In 
government areas Communist expansion was seen as a disease. 
Since the government would not or could not mobilize the people 
as the Communists did without striking at their own base of 
social support, they felt the Communists, too, should desist 
from organizing. In government-controlled areas the various 
76 



Communist bureaux were put under increasing surveillance. 
Government zealots in Pingkiang, a small town in Hunan, fell on 
local Communist war area liaison office and massacred its 
personnel; similar bureaux in other cities were closed down. 
Communist activity in Chiang K'ai-shek's China slowly went 
underground till only in Chungking and Sian were open bureaux 
maintained, and these were watched. In the fall of 1939 fighting 
flared on a divisional scale in Shansi ; it was halted by a negotiated 
truce in the spring of 1940, but even more bitter clashes followed 
in the Yangtze Valley, where the New Fourth Army operated. 

By midsummer of 1940 it was evident that some agreement 
would have to be reached, or Chinese unity would be shattered. 
There were any number of general problems. First was the strict 
demarcation of the original civilian Communist area in northern 
Shensi, where border guards of both parties fought intermittently. 
Second was the matter of supplies. The government had promised 
to pay and supply 45,000 troops of the Communist Eighth Route 
Army; it had been willing in the spring of '38 to undertake 
maintenance of 15,000 troops under the name of the New Fourth 
Army, but both pay and supplies were slow in coming and were 
guarded with conditions. The government's commitments were 
good on paper, but in fact the Communists were fighting on 
their own with little help from the government. Third and this 
was most important the areas in which the government and 
Communist armies operated against the Japanese had to be 
clearly defined so as to reduce clashes to a minimum. 

A general agreement in the summer of 1940 solved both the 
demarcation of the Communist northern Shensi area and the 
supply problem, The key to the agreement, however, was a 
Communist commitment to remove all Eighth Route Army 
troops to the northern bank of the Yellow River and New Fourth 
Army troops to the area north of the Yangtze. 

At the end of 1940 occurred what has ever since been known 
as the New Fourth Army Incident one of the major turning 
points in China's wartime politics, an emotional symbol that still 
evokes sharp bitterness, the King Charles's head of the Chinese 
civil war. No one knows precisely how it was that the govern- 
ment troops came to trap and massacre the headquarters detach- 
ment of the New Fourth Army in the first week of January 1941. 
The best impartial summation that can be made after consulting 
all available sources is this: The bulk of the New Fourth Army 

77 



had moved north across the Yangtze by the end of December. 
There remained a headquarters detachment, including most of the 
staff, the high command, and some combat troops totalling some- 
thing more than 5,000 men. They had been ordered to move north, 
and the government fixed their route; the Communists claim to 
this day that it would have taken them directly into Japanese 
garrisons along the river bank. They pleaded for a change in 
route, and their delegate in Chungking, General Chou Enlai, 
saw the Generalissimo. The Generalissimo, after approving a 
change, invited Chou to a Christmas dinner, and the two of 
them drank the cup of peace and friendship; all was settled. 
Then suddenly Communist headquarters in Yenan snapped a 
radio to their Chungking office; the New Fourth Army was 
trapped and surrounded, by government troops, and the head- 
quarters detachment was being massacred. Chou rushed to the 
Generalissimo. He was unable to see him but was assured that 
all was going smoothly and that orders were being issued to 
government units not to impede the march of the New Fourth. 

Who was lying? The Communists claim that the Generalis- 
simo's henchmen launched the attack without his knowledge 
and that when the attack became known, the Generalissimo 
lied to cover it up and later condoned the action. The Kuomin- 
tang claims that the New Fourth Army had attacked government 
troops, who disciplined the insurgents. This claim blandly overlooks 
the fact that the Communist unit was heavily out-numbered and 
consisted mostly of noncombat staff and headquarters personnel. 

Chungking buzzed with rumours of an open breach, of an 
all-out civil war. When the confusion lifted, it was learned that 
the entire headquarters of the New Fourth Army had been wiped 
out, its chief of staff had been killed, its commander was in a 
concentration camp, several thousand of its troops were dead and 
several thousand more in captivity. The incident itself was bad 
enough, but the victorious government troops treated their 
captured Communist compatriots with Japanese ruthlessness. 
Years later a university professor, not a Communist, who had 
been captured while travelling with the group, told a gruesome 
tale of the captivity. He said the Communists had had both men 
and women on their staff, the women serving as political workers, 
nurses, and staff members. According to him, government troops 
raped their Communist captives; the girls contracted venereal 
disease, and some committed suicide. The captives were held 

78 



near the scene of battle for a year and a half and were ttyen 
marched 400 miles overland to a new concentration camp. 
Both men and women were forced to haul the baggage of govern- 
ment troops ; when they sickened, they were beaten ; some were 
shot, and others were buried alive. By the time the professor 
who told me the tale was released, only 300 prisoners of the several 
thousand captured were still alive. 

The New Fourth Army Incident drew a line of emotional 
hysteria across all future relations of government and Com- 
munists. All negotiations ceased. Supplies were cut off from 
Communist armies everywhere. A blockade of picked govern- 
ment troops was thrown about the Communist civilian base in 
northern Shensi and sealed air-tight. In the beginning it had 
been a war of all China against the Japanese; now it was a war 
of two Chinas a Communist China and a Kuomintang China 
against the Japanese; and there was a subsidiary war smouldering 
simultaneously with these two great wars a war between 
Communist China and Kuomintang China. 

A visitor in Asia in the fall of 1941 would have found it difficult 
to predict the outcome of the struggle between China and Japan. 
Inflation was getting under way and was tugging at prices; the 
Chinese army was losing its mobility; the Japanese were bombing 
the capital at will. Heroism, courage, and devotion certainly 
existed among the Chinese but there was an equal measure 
of bitterness, suspicion, and treachery. The Chinese could not 
win, but they would not quit. The Japanese had tried to crush 
China's armies, wreck her economy, promote internal discord; 
they had partial successes to show, but the sum total was failure. 
China was still locked in a see-saw balance that the imperial 
armies could not upset. This was confusing only if the struggle 
were regarded as limited to Asia alone. Gradually it became 
evident that a decision would not be reached in China itself. 
The war there was part of something greater, part of a world 
war that cut across China's own internal problems and sufferings. 
China could not lose if the democracies won, nor could she win 
if the democracies lost. Logically enough the Japanese were 
arriving at the same conclusion at almost the same time. The 
war in Asia was part of the greater World War in the West. 

The leaders of the Japanese army realized that the fiction of 
Versailles and the League of Nations had changed nothing and 

79 



that this was one of those periods when civilizations are made 
and broken, when nations become great or perish. From 1931 
on, the Japanese saw the world in its true state of anarchy and 
decided to strike relentlessly, whenever the opportunity offered. 
The leaders of Japan were small men, but they had large plans, 
in which China figured as the key to all future Japanese greatness. 
Before Japan could go on to a future in the larger world, the 
China affair had to be settled and settled to Japan's taste, with 
China playing the role of captive lashed to the chariot of Japanese 
conquest. 

Japan paused for reflection in the spring of 1939. She held 
every important military objective in China from the deserts of 
Mongolia to the sub-tropical delta of Canton; yet China was still 
at war with her. To drive farther into the country would require 
the uttermost exertion of every sinew of Japanese strength. Every 
available soldier, every drop of gasoline, every ton of steel, 
would have to be invested over a period of years to garrison the 
interior of China till the Chinese yielded if they ever did. This, 
in 1939, seemed absurd to many Japanese. A war was developing 
in Europe whose decision, one way or another, would bind the 
Japanese for decades to come, no matter what the decision in 
China. The Japanese waited. The collapse of Western resistance 
before Germany in the spring of 1940 rang every bell in the halls 
of decision in Tokyo. France and the Netherlands had been 
ravaged and finished; England was at death's door; these coun- 
tries' empires in the South Seas were orphaned. The situation 
tantalized the Nipponese, and imperial policy in 1940 turned 
from the mainland to a diplomatic offensive in the South Seas. 

The Japanese started by making demands on all three colonial 
powers, and for a few months all went well for the would-be con- 
querors. The French bureaucracy, having no roots either in their 
homeland or in their colony, agreed to close the one railway still 
supplying China, and they let the Japanese garrison northern 
Indo-China. The British, stunned by the defeat in Europe, 
agreed to close the Burma Road for three months and thus to seal 
the last official channel through the back door into China. The 
Dutch fell in with Japan's desire for economic co-operation; the 
Japanese wanted the oil of the Netherlands Indies, and the 
Dutch prepared to receive a mission to discuss the oil problem 
in detail. In midsummer of 1940 it seemed that the Japanese 
had won hands down and yet by fall they were ready to admit 
80 



that their diplomatic offensive had fizzled out like a wet fire- 
cracker. Only in Indo-China had they got what they wanted. 
The British reopened the Burma Road and refused to discuss the 
matter further. In the fall the Dutch received the Japanese oil 
negotiators in the Indies and offered to sell them something less 
than 2,000,000 tons a year barely a quarter of the islands' yield. 
It took the Japanese through the winter of 1940 and into the 
spring of 1941 to digest the lessons they had learned and to come 
up with an analysis and a solution. The analysis was correct; 
the solution was disastrous. 

Japan had two major problems. One was the unfinished war in 
China, the second, the scarcely begun campaign in the South 
Seas. Far the more pressing was the one involving the mainland, 
but the campaign in the South Seas presented a time element 
that made it a now-or-never affair. Ideally a time interval of 
years should have come between the two enterprises, but history 
would not wait. In early 1941 neither endeavour was going as 
well as Japan desired. Japan had been considering both for some 
months; it took no brilliancy to reach the obvious conclusion 
that the source of her frustration lay far beyond the field of battle 
or table of negotiation. It lay in the United States of America. 

America was becoming month by month the great opponent of 
the Japanese in the Pacific. China had watched with bitterness 
the closing of the Burma Road by the British; she felt it was 
betrayal of a common cause. China had nothing but contempt 
for French action in Indo-China. Only the United States seemed 
to offer her hope. It was true that Ajnerica was selling oil and 
sjfel to the Japanese, but America was gradually beginning to 
funnel aid into China too. On her faith in America, China pinned 
all her future. It was the same in the Indies. The Dutch, with a 
handful of old planes and a few cruisers, were no match for 
Japan's navy and veteran army; but the Indies, encouraged by 
American diplomacy, held firm against Japanese diplomatic 
pressure. To the Japanese, American policy seemed like a frus- 
trating conspiracy. A single word to China or the Indies by the 
American government, and all would be settled; without that 
word Japan could not move. To force the decision in America, 
therefore, became the cornerstone of Japan's planning for 1941, 
and by the spring of that year negotiations were under way in 
Washington. 

The Japanese insisted that their demands were reasonable. All 
DC 81 



they wanted in the Indies was the mineral resources; they would 
gladly, they said, share these with the United States. All they 
wanted in China, they claimed, was peace; and peace could come 
only with Japanese control. The frustrations Japan met seemed 
unjust to her Japan was not attacking other peoples; Japan 
herself was being crushed and destroyed. "What do you expect 
70,000,000 people to do? " the Japanese consul general in Batavia 
asked during the oil negotiations. "To stay locked up in our rocky 
little islands? . . . We must have oil ... if you will not give it 
to us, we must take it here. . . . We must have peace in China 
if it takes us one hundred years of war, we must have it. We have 
risked our whole national life on it. ... We must expand. . . . 
You fear us because you have wronged us." Secretly, the 
Japanese wired their ambassadors in Europe an outline of the 
negotiations they planned to conduct with the United States: 
"To terminate the struggle with the Chinese by diplomatic 
negotiations ; to establish an area of co-prosperity in East Asia ; 
and to conserve our national resources in preparation for the 
future." 

Even while the preliminary conversations were in progress, 
Japan's fiction of peace was ruptured by the greed of her army. 
The Japanese generals marched their troops into southern Indo- 
China, springboard for an assault on the South Seas. With a reflex 
speed rarely found in democracies at peace, the United States 
struck back. It clamped an embargo on oil and steel on the Jap- 
anese islands, and the Dutch and British followed the American 
lead. America's oil embargo set the Washington negotiations on 
a new level. Now they were no longer concerned with abstract 
fundamentals; the negotiations had become the raw stuff of war. 
There was a time limit on all Japanese decisions she must get 
American agreement before her oil ran out; she must surrender 
and be reduced to impotence; or she must strike before she 
became too weak to act. 

The Japanese could now no longer march and negotiate 
simultaneously. They were trapped, and they tried to back- 
track. They would, they said, withdraw their troops from 
southern Indo-China to northern Indo-China if America would 
sell oil and steel again. But America could no longer reverse her- 
self; to release oil and steel to the Japanese again would mean 
American support of Japan's ambition in China. It was a course no 
honourable leadership could take, and the American negotiators 

82 , 



made it clear that without a free China there could be no 
resumption of ordinary relations between our country and Japan. 
Try as they might, the Japanese could find no formula to hold 
China and to appease America at the same time. 

The United States had a timetable, too. America's programme 
was geared for movement by spring of 1 942 by then an American 
volunteer air force comprising a pursuit group, a bombing 
squadron, and possibly a torpedo squadron would be operating 
under the Chinese flag from Chinese bases; by then the Indies 
and Malaya would be re-armed; our island chain across the 
Pacific would be equipped and garrisoned ; the Philippines would 
have more American aircraft and American combat troops. By 
the time all this was done, the Japanese would have been caught, 
as the Chinese say, like a turtle in a bottle. The Japanese were 
fully aware of this dead end; by fall debate within Japan had been 
settled. On October 17, 1941, General Hideki Tojo was made 
premier the first general on the active list to hold that office. 
Tojo was of the inner core of the army, and the army piloted 
Japan in her last few weeks of decision. Tojo's plan was to nego- 
tiate with fervour to keep northern China while regaining free 
access to world trade so that Japan might continue to grow 
stronger. If the Americans refused, the gun was cocked. 

By mid-November all Japanese embassies had received the code 
words to be used in case of crisis. For a rupture in Japanese- 
American relations the short-wave news broadcast was to use 
twice the phrase HIGASHI NO KAZEAME "East wind rain/' By 
the end of November the Japanese fleet was on the high seas, had 
rendezvoused off Hokkaido, and was steaming towards the 
northern Pacific; the ordinary coded cables became too slow, and 
diplomats in Washington were told to use the telephone. By the 
first week in December troops were gathered in southern Indo- 
China for the push into the South Seas. On December 7, 1941, 
in several thousand newspaper and radio offices in America, the 
teletype rang twelve times with a bulletin. Tired Sunday editors 
watched the keys beneath the glass panel beat out the flash. It 
was 2: 22 p.m. 

FLASH . . . WHITE HOUSE SAYS 
JAPS ATTACK PEARL HARBOUR . . . 

The war in Asia was now America's war. 



CHAPTER 6 

CAMPAIGN IN THE SOUTH SEAS 

AMERICA WAS TOTALLY unprepared for the war that 
she had accepted on the far side of the globe. The chief armament 
of the Allies was an innocent faith in the superiority of the white 
man over the coloured man, or at least of the white man's culture 
over any other. Defence preparations were more pitiful than 
imposing. In the Philippines we had the skeleton of an air force 
thirty-five B-iy's, lumbering early types of the Flying Fortress, 
undergunned and underarmoured, of which seventeen were 
destroyed on the ground in the first day of action; twenty P-35's, 
serviceable but slow, built for the Swedish government and 
diverted to the Philippines; sixty early models of the P-4O; no 
medium bombers at all; and a mongrel assortment of A-'ay's, 
P-26's, and go-miles-per-hour observation planes. After the first 
weeks of war this air force was reduced to thirty fighters and no 
bombers. Our ground forces consisted of the Philippine Scouts, ex- 
cellent jungle fighters ; several thousand National Guardsmen fresh 
from the States; and a hodgepodge mass of hastily trained Filipino 
reservists drawn from the rice paddies and farms of the islands. 

The other Allies were weak, too. The Dutch in the Indies had 
300 planes, but most of these were obsolete. They had 30,000 
regular troops, of which six or seven thousand were Europeans 
and the rest natives. They had rifles, machine-guns, some old field 
pieces, and little else. Supplementary levies of 40,000 were quickly 
called together, but they were untrained. The British in Malaya 
were guarded by the jungles, their own pride, and the traditions of 
empire. Their air force was almost entirely obsolete. They had 
built a huge naval base at Singapore at an estimated cost of 
300,000,000, but it was prepared to defend itself only against 
attack from the sea ; the Japanese attack, of course, came overland. 
Theoretically the British should have be^n the bastion of strength 
in the South Seas they had an Australian division, thousands 
of British troops, and a heavy high-seas battle fleet; but the 
British command was incompetent and irresolute. 

All the Western Allies in the Pacific the Americans, British, 
and Dutch were as ill-prepared psychologically to face the 
84 



Japanese as the French chivalry had been to face the crossbow- 
men of England at Agincourt. With the exception of Douglas 
MacArthur the commanders of the war against Japan in 
December 1941 were men blinded by an enormous and over- 
weening arrogance. One of the generals of the United States Air 
Corps at Pearl Harbour had delivered himself of a profound 
statement at a party five months before the attack: "Hitler is our 
real worry," said he. "As soon as we take care of the Germans, 
we can turn to these Japs and say, 'There, there, little brothers, 
just behave yourselves,' and they'll behave/' 

In the mythology of the white-skinned warrior darker-skinned 
people were just not fighting men. Everybody knew that all 
Japanese were near-sighted and couldn't shoot, that their 
bombing was inaccurate, that they were mimics, that tftey could 
not build or maintain real machinery. Remember that story about 
how they copied a British ship, patches and all or the one about 
how they built a ship from phony plans, which turned turtle as 
soon as it left the dry dock? Japanese planes were no good 
remember how they cracked up the first model of the DG-4? In 
spite of all this full specifications of the Japanese Zero had been 
forwarded by military intelligence from China to Washington as 
early as March 1941; its manoeuvrability, range, and engine 
power were on record filed away and ignored. The master minds 
of the West had watched the Japanese fight the Chinese for four 
years, and they were unimpressed. Although they could not under- 
stand the war in China and made little effort to find out more than 
the bare bones of military fact, they were serene in their con- 
clusions; the war in China had proved to them that the Japanese 
were a fourth-rate military power, possessing neither the resources 
nor the skill necessary to fight a modern war. 

If the Allies were unprepared militarily and psychologically to 
face the Japanese in field of battle, they were even more in- 
adequately prepared to face the Japanese in a contest for the 
loyalty of the people in the lands under attack. An era in world 
history was coming to an end, but no one understood this until 
too late; even after victory many failed to grasp it. Japan's plunge 
into the South Seas was a turning point in the history of subject 
Asia, so portentous a phase in a revolution of hundreds of 
millions of men that the war itself was reduced almost to a detail. 
For four hundred years, since the galleons of Don Alfonso de 
Albuquerque threaded the Straits of Malacca in 1511, to be 

85 



followed by Saint Francis Xavier a few decades later, the white 
man had trampled roughshod over the dignity and culture of the 
dark-skinned peoples of Asia. The white man in his military 
arrogance had looted the Orient of its wealth and thrust his faith 
down the gullet of the heathen at bayonet's point. For four 
hundred years the bitternesses of the people of Asia had been 
gradually accumulating against this system, and the pressure was 
volcanic. Now a dark-skinned people undertook to humiliate the 
white man within sight of his slaves. 

The Filipinos have an ancient legend about how God made the 
world's first man. God fashioned a man tenderly until every detail 
was perfect, they say, and then put the image into the oven to 
bake. But He opened the oven too late; the man had burned black. 
This was, after all, the first man God had ever created. Breathing 
life into the figure, He determined to try again. He put the same 
material into a second man, shaped with the same care, and 
waited eagerly; but He grew impatient with waiting and opened 
the oven too soon, and the man was underdone, a sickly, pasty 
white. God was not satisfied and reproached Himself for this 
second mistake. So He made a third man; He looked into the 
oven every now and then, and when He took the figure out, this 
man was baked neither too much nor too little. He was a smooth 
golden brown, and God was satisfied. 

The story could be Malay or Burmese or Indonesian; it could 
be told of China or Japan; it could be the story of any brown- 
or yellow-skinned people, who had been made defensively aware of 
their colour by the coming of the white man. The consciousness 
of colour that had been imposed with stress on the superiority and 
dominance of the pale and on the humble subjection of the dark 
was the strongest weapon in Japan's arsenal. Japan's tem- 
pestuous assault on the empires of the South Seas in the winter 
and spring of 1942 seemed like an overwhelming, dynamic parade 
of military might; in actual fact it was not. It was the annihilation 
of a handful of white men and their decrepit military establish- 
ments trapped between the apathy and hatred of their subject 
peoples on the one hand and the storming advance wave of what 
some of those peoples thought was a crusade. 

Except for the magnificent defence of Bataan and Gorregidor 
by the Filipinos and Americans the campaign for the South Seas 
was a narrative of shame, disgrace, and stupidity. 
86 



The Japanese had never in their history fought a foreign war to 
its full conclusion. Even their war against America was never, 
despite all their boastful propaganda, conceived as a war to the 
finish against the white world ; it was merely a war to drive the 
\vhite man from Asia. The first blow launched was against Pearl 
Harbour. This was intended to gain enough time, by destroying 
the American fleet, to conduct the campaign against the South 
Seas undisturbed by a threat from the Pacific. There were four 
separate points of attack in the South Seas : Hongkong and Manila 
in the north, Malaya and the Netherlands Indies in the south. 

Hongkong fell on schedule, but the Philippines held. The 
defence of the Philippines, like every other phase of the South 
Seas campaign, had its explanation in politics. Alone of all the 
subject peoples the Filipinos fought side by side with their allies. 
It was true that the Filipinos smarted under many of the in- 
dignities common to all Asiatics. They were excluded from 
American clubs; they got smaller salaries than white men doing 
the same work; they disliked the condescension met with even by 
their most educated. Their leaders still had bitter memories. 
President Manuel Quezon had fought Americans forty years 
before and surrendered finally to the father of General Douglas 
MacArthur. General Carlos Romulo, first ambassador from the 
Philippines to Washington, had heard his father tell how the 
Americans tortured him with the water cure. But the Philippines 
had been given schools and medicine, and they had a promise, 
which they believed sincere, of independence in a few years; they 
were junior partners in an enterprise that was moving towards 
freedom. Nothing the Japanese could promise them could match 
the substance of what they already had or compare with the 
commitments America had already made. 

A few Filipinos were carried away by Japanese propaganda 
or the chance for gain and aided the enemy. Fifth columnists 
flashed beacons and signals during the night as the Japanese 
raided Manila; other fifth columnists sniped at air-raid wardens 
trying to black out the city; still others gave information and 
guidance to the Japanese troops. But the overwhelming mass 
of the Filipinos remained loyal to America as to their own 
interests. Their faith in American strength was childlike and 
trusting. As the defenders of Luzon were compressed into 
Corregidor and Bataan, the Filipinos still believed that a convoy 
was on the way, that help was coming. Though defeat grew daily 

87 



more inevitable, their confidence remained unshaken; not even the 
final collapse of all organized resistance in early May could convince 
them that their interests lay with Japan. Two and a half years later 
their trust, still intact, greeted the returning American army. 

Allied strategy wrote the Philippines off the book by early 
January as an irretrievable loss; it concentrated instead on holding 
the line from Malaya to the Netherlands Indies. This was a hope- 
less endeavour, for whatever was poured into this last line was 
poured into a sea of despair and stagnation. The Japanese struck 
at Malaya from the Thai border on December 12, 1941. They 
crossed swiftly, through jungles the British believed impenetrable, 
clear to the western coast of the peninsula, and then proceeded to 
filter south through the plantations and forests towards Singapore. 

Every ridiculed technique used by the Japanese became sud- 
denly overwhelming. Japanese uniforms did break every military 
convention, but the shabby tennis shoes and shorts were far better 
adapted to jungle warfare than the weighty British boots, hel- 
mets, gas masks, and miscellaneous gear. And the Japanese rag- 
tag assortment of clothing made it possible for them to mingle 
easily with the civilian population. They had no quartermaster 
corps and almost no transport. The British bogged down in their 
trucks, while the Japanese commandeered bicycles and pedalled 
swiftly into battle over unnoticed trails. A Japanese soldier car- 
ried a bottle of water, a ball of rice, some preserved seaweed, and 
a few pickles; when he could not live off the land, this supplied 
him for four days. To the British, dependent upon twenty-three 
varieties of food, mostly tinned, it seemed that the enemy could 
live literally "off the smell of an oil rag.'* The British had large- 
calibre weapons, accurate and of long range, but long range and 
high accuracy were wasted in dense tropical jungles where most 
shooting had to be done blind ; the Japanese used small-calibre 
weapons, and every man carried his own ammunition. 

The fifth column helped the Japanese greatly in Malaya. It 
used ingenious methods to point out headquarters or artillery 
posts to strafing aircraft. Condensed milk cans, stripped of their 
paper labels, glistened in the sun and, from the air, formed an 
arrow pointing straight to the target. Leaves of banana trees, 
green on top and yellow beneath, were turned with their yellow 
sides up to form a signal that was even less noticeable from the 
ground. Natives supplied food and acted as guides. With such 
aid the Japanese made the 45O-mile drive from northern Malaya 
88 



to its southern tip in seven weeks; then they paused for a few days 
to regroup for the assault on Singapore. 

If the British had failed to prepare their subjects before the 
war, they alienated them completely after the campaign began. 
At Penang all British nationals "of pure British race" were 
ordered to leave when the attack started, but no Asiatics were 
permitted to go, not even Eurasian wives of Englishmen. This 
order and the discrimination that was continued in other ways 
shook native morale. Chinese were included in the classification 
of inferior peoples by the British. Fifty leaders of various Chinese 
communities Communists, Kuomintang, bankers, merchants 
called on the governor of Singapore and asked for arms with 
which to fight. They were refused. They flocked to work as fire- 
fighters, stretcher bearers, ambulance drivers; they formed the 
backbone of the air-raid precaution system. When Malay and 
Indian labour evaporated, Chinese volunteers gathered at seven 
each morning to work wherever they were needed. They manned 
docks, cleared bombed buildings, dug trenches, moved supplies, 
but not until the campaign was almost over were they allowed to 
fight; the first company of Chinese volunteers moved to the front 
only five days before the siege of the island began. As their trucks 
drove off, they sang CKi Lai "Arise, you who refuse to be bond- 
slaves." Several companies finally saw service after hasty train- 
ing. One of these, stationed in a mangrove swamp on the north- 
western edge of the island, was armed with motley weapons, 
mostly shotguns, with seven rounds of ammunition per man. No 
air-raid shelters had been built; they tried to dig trenches in the 
pouring rain, but the water level was as high as the earth. Six 
hours later the Japanese landed in that sector after a merciless 
artillery barrage fired almost at machine-gun tempo, and the 
Chinese were slaughtered. 

By the end of February, Malaya and Singapore had been lost 
and Japanese attention drawn off both north and south to 
Burma and to the Indies. The Indies fell in a few weeks; there 
was no active native unrest, but the apathy of the natives to the 
defeat of their overlords made real defence impossible. In Burma 
the native population turned on the whites in hatred burning, 
looting, aiding the Japanese in every way it could devise. 1 

1 The best description of the Burma campaign, indeed the best political 
analysis of the entire war in the South Seas, is the opening chapter of Jack 
Beldcn's Retreat with StilwelL 

Di 89 



Months later, in Australia, a dignified brown-skinned man, once 
a high official in his own government and later an important 
functionary under the British, tried to explain why the Japanese 
triumphs had been so devastatingly thorough. His English was 
halting, and he was eager to be understood, so he typed out 
seven long pages. "Reasons for the War and the Japanese Vic- 
tories" was his title. In the first three paragraphs he polished off 
Japan's economic needs and the world struggle for power and 
delivered a dissertation on armament and tactics; then for six 
and a half pages he listed one small indignity after another to 
which white men had subjected darker men. A Malay sultan 
was refused admission to Singapore; a Malay official was forced 
to climb out of his car while a white man was allowed to drive 
through a barrier; the British insisted that they be called "Mis- 
ter", but refused to use the respectful term to yellow men; he 
himself had been unable to drink a cup of coffee with his fellow 
workers because of a WHITE MEN ONLY placard. He ended: "The 
way to win a peace that will endure is to fill the promises of free- 
dom and equality among men your Atlantic Charter gave. These 
stories I tell may sound small, but from tiny drops of water the 
mighty ocean grows." 

By the end of May the Japanese had achieved every one of 
their major ambitions. They had raped the empires of the white 
man from Hongkong in the north almost to Port Darwin in the 
south and clear to the gates of Calcutta in the west. India, the 
crown jewel of Western imperialism, lay just beyond the hills. 

In the summer of 1942, India, hot and dusty under the scorch- 
ing tropical sun, was waiting for leadership. Its 350,000,000 
people, drugged with the heat, seared by their own inner passions 
and conflicts, bound together only by a sense of their profound 
misery and by hatred of the British Raj, were ripe for a stroke of 
history. Never in the course of the war did the forces of the 
United Nations stand closer to defeat than in the summer of 
1942, and of all the sputtering points of disaster India was second 
only to Stalingrad. The Germans were on the banks of the Volga 
and only 30 miles short of Alexandria in the Western Desert of 
Egypt. Burma had fallen. The Axis partners, the Germans and 
Japanese, were now separated only by the turbulent, unstable 
block of nations that for a century had been pawns in the rivalry 
of great imperialisms. India was the most important of these 

90 



nations; if it were to throw out the white man, nothing could 
keep the Japanese and Germans from making a junction that 
might immeasurably prolong the war and multiply its cost. 

The Allies were fighting a war theoretically for freedom. The 
masses of Indian peasantry were more than ready for freedom; 
they were already infected by the collapse of the imperial system 
to the east. But there was a grotesque and paralysing complica- 
tion to the problem. If India were to be free, the British would 
have to go; if the British were driven out, the Japanese might 
come in and stand within reach of victory. Only one solution 
could have achieved honour, success, and victory; India's friend- 
ship had to be purchased with the quickest, most sincere, most 
complete possible grant of independence in order to persuade the 
Indian masses to fight in their own interests as the Chinese were 
doing. No one knows whether this solution could have been 
worked out effectively in the few months between the collapse in 
Burma and the crisis of August 1942. As it was, each party to the 
drama blundered along in its appointed groove to the immediate 
or ultimate doom of its own ambition. The Japanese blundered, 
the British blundered, the Indian National Congress blundered. 

The Japanese blundered by not striking in June, when the 
crisis became clear. The wave of unrest that swept India was the 
direct result of Japan's spectacular victories over the British 
Empire elsewhere in Asia. But the Japanese had planned the 
campaign as a military campaign first and a political campaign 
second. They wished to make the bitterness of the subject 
peoples a buttress for their own new empire rather than a prop 
for freedom. In mimicking Europe, Japan mimicked European 
weakness as well as European strength. She adopted wholesale 
the blinding racism of the white empire builder that some men 
were born to dominate other men and that she herself was the 
divinely appointed vessel for such dominance. The barbarous 
feeling of superiority of the Japanese, their terrifying contempt 
for the white man, was an emotion rather than a reasoned 
political theory, and sealed into this emotion was a contempt for 
other yellow- and dark-skinned peoples as great as that of the old 
rulers or even greater. The Japanese themselves in their strength 
were the product of a revolution in Asiatic life, but they could not 
understand the process. Without understanding the discontent 
in India, they were unable to take advantage of the opportunity 
the moment offered. If they had marshalled all their remaining 

9' 



military and political strength for the last push over the mountains 
to India, they would have marched into the arms of a triumphant 
revolution. In their arrogance they underestimated the Indians 
and were unprepared to take advantage of the uprisings. 

The blunders of the British were not immediately apparent. 
In the spring of 1942, Sir Stafford Cripps had come from London 
with a highly conditional promise of independence. Tired and 
harassed in the heat of India, he presented his proposals faultily, 
though he did try to achieve some necessary reforms; but he was 
bound by the directives of the government. When the Cripps 
mission failed, both the British and the Indians moved on to an 
inevitable clash. The conduct of the summer crisis, with Gripps 
gone, was left in the hands of the British civil service in India. 
The British civil service acted precisely as was expected of it; 
it treated the entire matter, the burning misery and passionate 
longing for freedom, as if it were a police problem. With quiet, 
courteous, and utterly ruthless severity it prepared to crush the 
awakening masses. The first reaction of one of the senior British 
officials in Delhi, on reading the resolution of the Indian Congress 
that touched off the uprisings, was to say, "Do you know, I think 
this is illegal." 

By however unsavoury means the tide of revolt was stayed. It 
is difficult to praise the British officials who effected this result; 
yet if they had failed, India might have been drawn into the orbit 
of the Axis. The blunder of the British was apparent only much 
later, when it became plain that by suppressing the revolt, in- 
stead of marshalling the friendship of India by the gift of independ- 
ence, they had won an enduring legacy of hatred. The end of 
British rule in India is written down for our times; where there 
might have grown up an association of friendship not too greatly 
different from that between the United States and the Philip- 
pines, the British bought for themselves what may be permanent 
and irrevocable hostility. 

The Indian National Congress, finally, blundered as badly as 
the Japanese or the British. This body is the oldest and most 
weighty political association in India; it has led the Indian people 
in three waves of assault on the British government. It resembles 
the early Kuomintang of Chinese history, since it is compounded 
of discontent at national humiliation, a desire for freedom, 
agrarian misery, and a loosely defined social programme. As 
with the Kuomintang in its early days, support comes to it from 
9* 



two sources the unhappy masses of the people and the educated 
middle class that supplies leadership. And the Congress, again like 
the Kuomintang, has sealed within it the seeds of future civil war. 

The one sharp distinction that, more than any other, sets the 
Congress off from the Kuomintang is its aversion to violence. 
The Kuomintang grew out of the civil wars and turbulence of 
the war lords and achieved power only when its leaders learned 
how to wield violence in effecting political decision. Violence or 
the threat of it infuses the political thought of every educated 
Chinese. The Indian National Congress has been paralysed for 
twenty-five years because it has entrusted spiritual leadership to 
Mahatma Gandhi, who has convinced it that change can come 
without violence. 

In the summer of 1942 the Indian National Congress flung 
away the greatest opportunity for Indian freedom in hundreds 
of years by its policy of nonviolent resistance. The British were 
weak their troops scattered to the extremity of the Empire, 
the civil service unhappy and its morale sapped and the enemy 
was at the gates. Millions on millions of Indians were waiting for 
directions from the Congress leadership, which did call them out 
of their shops, fields, and factories, but not to fight, merely to 
protest. Leadership called them out to oppose their bare hands to 
machine-guns and Bren-gun carriers, and it enjoined them not to 
strike back. Many friends of Indian independence questioned 
the wisdom of the Congress in turning against the British at a 
moment when Axis victory threatened. But having made the 
decision that this was the moment of destiny, the Congress was 
blind to the fact that it could be implemented only by force, that 
a passive resistance could end only in defeat and the unnecessary 
sacrifice of hundreds of lives. 

From June to August the Congress girded itself for the trial. 
The issues it presented to the world and to the Indian people 
were that only Indians could defend India efficiently against the 
menace of Japanese assault and that India could not fight 
efficiently in her own defence while she was shackled to a system 
of slavery. The battle cry of the uprising was "Quit India'* a 
demand that the British give complete independence to the people 
of India to organize their own defence. The most brilliant presen- 
tation of the Indian case came from Jawaharlal Nehru, the 
almost saintly deputy leader of the Congress. A few days before 
he was jailed for his participation in the movement, Nehru in 

93 



conversation summed up his entire attitude to the world of the 
white man and Asia: 

What has astounded me is the total inability of the British 
to think in terms of the new world situation, in terms of realism 
realism being more than military realism, it being political, 
psychological, economic realism. 

Englishmen, whoever they may be, cannot think of India 
except in terms of an appendage to England. Their history 
of India begins with the occupation of India. The average 
European concept of Asia is as an appendage to Europe and 
America a great mass of people fallen low who are to be 
lifted by the good works of the west. 

But in world perspective European domination is recent. 
When the British came here, the industry of India was as 
advanced as that of Great Britain. India had never been a 
dependent country until Britain came. We absorbed our con- 
querors and they became part of us. India was conquered 
but the conquerors became Indians. India was never de- 
pendent upon another country. Now the seat of power is in 
London, not in India. 

I see Europe now after all its magnificent achievements 
trying its hardest to commit suicide I think about that and it 
seems to me that there is something essential lacking in 
European civilization, some poison which eats into it, which 
brings about a war every twenty years. I feel that though Asia 
lags behind yet she has a definite cultural stability mainly 
in China and in India. . . . 

The problem, as it presented itself to me at the beginning of 
the war, was how to link up this new Asia with the progressive 
forces in Europe and America. I wanted Asia to line up with 
the forces fighting Hitler. It was impossible to do this in terms 
of Asia as an appendage; it had to be treated on equal footing. 

The fall of France was so tremendous, it so showed up the 
rottenness of the western imperialist structures, that we 
thought that at last people's eyes in Europe were opened to 
the perils of Empire. And yet they were not opened. 

Much later came the fall of Malaya and Burma which 
at any rate was a direct lesson to the British for it was their 
empire that was going to pieces. The astounding thing is that 
even that had so little effect. . . . 

94 



In our minds so long as things were happening in Europe, 
we criticized but didn't embarrass the government so as not 
to get in the way of the war effort against the Axis. Now we 
had to view the problem from a new point of view how to 
defend India from invasion. ... It was obvious that we 
couldn't move the people in that direction unless we could tell 
them that they were defending their own freedom. 

It was at this time that Cripps came . . . but the picture 
Cripps put before us was so very like the existing picture with 
all its incompetence that it was not possible to proceed to 
make people feel they were defending their own freedom and 
enthuse them. We could not make it a people's war. 

The reaction to the Cripps visit taken together with the 
situation in Burma and the treatment of hundreds of thousands 
of Indian evacuees from Burma was tremendous. We could 
not be onlookers while the fate of India was being decided, 
especially when all our reason led us to the conviction that 
British authority was not competent to defend India. If we did 
not agree to the Cripps proposals were we to sit calmly by and 
observe the degradation of our own people? 

We came to the conclusion, in the balance, that we must 
take action now and not allow the position to deteriorate still 
further leading to the growth of pro-Japanese sentiment. 

Under such leadership, the Congress moved to action. On 
August 8, at a general assembly in Bombay, it approved and voted 
into effect resolutions calling for a programme of complete non- 
co-operation throughout the land until the British should quit 
India. The government struck back within a matter of hours. 
Employing its legal emergency powers, it clamped censorship 
on the press. Gandhi, Nehru, and all other top members of the 
Congress were placed under arrest in Bombay at dawn. The 
police hunted down and jailed all the local leaders throughout 
India who were thought dangerous. 

All India was seething next day. Decapitated by the arrest of 
its leaders, castrated by its philosophy of non-violence, the 
movement boiled amorphously into the streets. The British Raj 
was more gravely threatened than at any time since the Mutiny 
of 1857. A rigid censorship was imposed on outgoing cables to 
prevent the danger from becoming known either to the enemy 
or to the British and American public; the government was 

95 



fighting for its existence. In Delhi, the capital, rioters assembled, 
chanted the call, "Inqulab %indabad (long live the revolution)", 
and massed their gold and red banners for parade. British troops 
halted them in the main street of the city with lead. Shootings 
resounded in the suburbs, buildings flamed, mobs tore down walls 
to hurl bricks at the troops. Bren-gun carriers were called out, 
and machine-gun emplacements were mounted to command the 
alleyways. Officially the government admitted that it had killed 
forty of the rioters; Indians multiplied the figure several times. 
Within three days 60 per cent of Bombay's textile industry closed 
down; thirty people had been killed in that city. Within another 
week the great Tata mills, which accounted for almost all the 
Indian steel production, had been closed by another strike. Like 
a crown fire, disturbances leaped from Delhi and Bombay to 
Lucknow and Cawnpore and all up and down the basin of the 
Ganges. The British quickly concentrated their forces in the large 
cities to subdue the centres of inflammation. But by this time the 
uprising had spread cancerously to the countryside, and hundreds 
of isolated actions flamed across the country. For a week rail service 
between Calcutta and Delhi was cut; mobs tore up rails and cut 
telephone and telegraph wires. The British were strained to the 
utmost. Even the Royal Air Force was called out to strafe partisans 
ripping up rails where ground troops could not penetrate. 

Except in the large cities the uprising lacked co-ordination 
and control. The peasants' reactions were instinctive rather than 
reasoned; although their leaders denounced violence and death, 
they themselves felt that this was war. Their attacks focused on 
railways, bridges, and police stations. Where they found them- 
selves able to inflict punishment, their fury was merciless. Police 
officers were torn to bits by the hands of mobs, while others 
were burned alive; when officers of the armed services were found 
by themselves, without support, they were murdered. Some of 
the unco-ordinated rioters seized entire districts and held large 
areas so firmly that neither the mail nor the police could pene- 
trate. The Congress had made no preparation for the use of arms 
by the people or for the direction of their energies; it wanted 
freedom by bloodless revolution and was unable to think in terms 
of power politics. The unco-ordinated centres of dissidence were 
picked off by the British one after another,. and by mid-Septem- 
ber, after several thousand Indians had been killed, the crisis 
had passed; imperial control was firm again. If the Japanese 
96 



invaded India, they would have to fight for it; they would not 
be able to exploit it as a reservoir of revolutionary energy. Even 
this gamble the British won, for the Japanese did not invade 
India, but chose to expend their energy in a futile investment of 
strength in the mid-Pacific. 

With the crushing of the Indian revolt the war on the Asiatic 
mainland was reduced to a war between China and Japan. The 
war between Japan and the United States, a trial of brute 
strength, lay far off; for all its titanic dimensions it had little 
political significance, because Japan was foredoomed in that war 
from the very beginning. The war between China and Japan 
an inferior form of butchery was uniquely significant as a war 
between two independent Asiatic peoples. The Western nations 
had been unable to harness their power to any moral standards 
in the first few months of the war against Japan; the Indian 
Congress, which might have given Asia the moral leadership it 
sought, had been subdued. Only the government of Chiang 
K'ai-shek remained to hold forth to Asia a promise of a new world. 



CHAPTER 7 
GOVERNMENT BY TRUSTEE 

CLAIMED THAT she had a government no elec- 
tion had ever voted it into power, but officials and propagandists 
liked the legitimacy of the word. They bridged the discrepancies 
between fact and statement with the Kuomintang's peculiar 
theory of state, a theory that did not work, but was nonetheless 
interesting. By this theory, which persisted throughout the war, 
China was assumed to have not a government of the people 
but one held in trusteeship for them by the Kuomintang. Sun 
Yat-sen outlined the party's responsibility in three stages. First 
came a period of military operations, when the party defended 
the people against foreign imperialism and domestic war lords. 
Second was the period of political tutelage, in which the party 
taught the people how to govern the country. Third would come 
the period of constitutional government, when other parties 
would also be permitted, and the Kuomintang would compete 
against them to win favour at the polls. 

The Kuomintang alone was responsible for the government 

97 



during the war; it was the government. It appointed and directed 
all government officials. It controlled the national army; all 
senior officers and over 90 per cent of the men were enrolled, at 
least nominally, on the party roster, and political commissars were 
attached to each unit. Since government and party were the same 
thing, the army was a party army. The Kuomintang controlled 
the censorship; party work was supported by government funds ; 
party functionaries lived on public taxes. And since all other parties 
were outlawed, criticism of the Kuomintang became a state offence. 

Chiang's difficulty was that he tried to function in two stages of 
trusteeship at once. To fight the war he needed to levy men, 
money, and rice from the people; to do this he had to use the old, 
oppressive network of village chiefs, which kept the peasants 
under rigid control. And to fight the Communists he had to 
intensify his censorship and secret police. At the same time he 
was fond of democratic phrases and catchwords. He talked about 
the imminence of the ballot and constitutional rights; he promised 
the peasants more freedom, but operated always to restrict what 
little they had. He was enmeshed in his own promises. His govern- 
ment had two facades; one faced towards the peasant and re- 
tained all the old fanffliar undemocratic features of Chinese 
feudalism, but the imposing outer front, which faced China's 
allies, was built of materials pleasing to Western eyes political 
tutelage, habeas corpus, democracy. 

On paper the government was logical. China had a council, 
the Executive Yuan, that administered civilian affairs, introduced 
legislation, drew up budgets, made appointments, declared wars, 
and framed treaties. The eleven ministries under it looked like a 
cabinet to Western eyes ; the Ministry of Information was not 
included in the war cabinet but was directly responsible to the 
Kuomintang. There was a Legislative Yuan, the pale shadow of a 
congress, which could not make policy or even veto decisions 
and existed only to rubber-stamp bills submitted to it. Then there 
was the Judicial Yuan, with its system of courts. China had added 
to these three familiar governmental divisions an Examination 
Yuan, which passed on qualifications of functionaries from law- 
yers to midwives, and a Control Yuan, with powers of review, 
impeachment, and auditing a sort of state conscience. Over 
all the five yuan was a State Council, whose functions were nebu- 
lous except that the head of each yuan had to be chosen from 
among its members. Next higher was the Supreme National 
98 



Defence Council, which exercised " supreme authority' '.And at the 
pinnacle was Chiang K'ai-shek, with ' ' emergency ' ' wartime powers. 

A sure way to madness was to follow this logic through. 
Americans were used to a government based on law, and they 
tried to understand China in terms of what China proclaimed 
herself to be. After a few weeks of futile pursuit of reality new 
arrivals often threw up their hands and declared that China had 
no government but anarchy or a coalition of war lords, or that all 
Chinese were of the seed of Fu Man-chu, or that this was stark 
Fascism. All these simple explanations were wrong. The easiest 
way to understand China was to decide first that the government 
was only a false front for the Kuomintang, whose politics and 
cleavages were the main determinants of decision, and that 
behind the party was a personal despotism, the oldest form of 
rule known to mankind. 

The party chose a National Congress, which in turn chose a 
Central Executive Committee, which in turn chose a Standing 
Committee. And here, within the party, were all the debates and 
decisions and powers that could not be traced in the government 
itself. The Standing Committee of the party met every two weeks 
in Chungking and gave orders to the highest government body, 
the Supreme National Defence Council; the SNDC then handed 
down orders to the various branches of government involved. 
The Central Executive Committee named the heads of the five 
yuan-, it chose the State Councillors; it controlled the Supreme 
National Defence Council; if ever a new president of China were 
chosen, this committee would choose him. 

The Kuomintang's organization was patterned after the 
Russian Communist Party; Russian advisers remodelled it that 
way in 1923. In every county seat, in every sizeable army unit, 
was a tangpu, or party cell. In the villages the tangpuwerc usually 
in the hands of local officials and rural gentry who had enough 
leisure time or education or money to take an interest in 
politics. The tangpu rose in a pyramid to provincial councils and 
the provincial councils were the base of the National Congress, 
which was supposed to meet every two years. Kuomintang 
members were a small minority of the people of China a tight 
elite. Their duties were outlined thus: 

All members of the Party must strictly observe the following 
rules of discipline : (i) to obey the regulations and principles 

99 



of the Party, (2) to allow free discussions on any problem 
concerning the Party, but to obey absolutely once a resolution 
has been adopted, (3) to keep Party secrets, (4) to permit no 
attack on fellow members or Party organs before outsiders, 
(5) not to join any other political party, (6) not to organize 
cliques or factions. 1 

Loyal members tried with more or less success to follow the 
line on the first five directives, but the Kuomintang was riddled 
with cliques some liberal, some conservative, some only 
nominally attached to it. It was as heterogeneous a political 
catchall as the Democratic Party in America. 

The most cohesive faction within the party and the most potent 
force in government politics was the right-wing clique called the 
CC. The Communists had attached this tag to it with the meaning 
of Central Clique. The CC was reactionary; it was anti-foreign; 
it stood closest to the Generalissimo, but it was also the only 
group in the Kuomintang organized from the grassroots up. It 
was headed by two men, Ch'en Li-fu and his older brother 
Ch'en Kuo-fu. Ch'en Kuo-fu was tubercular. Throughout the 
war he was director of personnel in the Generalissimo's House- 
hold Bureau traffic manager for the flow of memoranda and 
individuals seeking the Generalissimo's attention. The real boss 
of the CC was Ch'en Li-fu, the younger brother. He had been 
Kuomintang Minister of Organization for five years before the 
war, and he organized well. In any real vote-getting contest 
within the party the CC could manipulate the levers, rig the 
issues, and shove its candidates through for an undisputed 
majority. Whereas all other groups derived their strength either 
from their armed forces or from the personal relationship of their 
leaders to the patronage trough at the capital, the CC had been 
able for a decade to marshal delegates and votes to support its 
demands. Its votes and intraparty majorities were only part of a 
well-rounded stock in trade that included such things as the favour 
of Chiang K'ai-shek, the largest slice of patronage, control of the 
nation's thought, press, and schools, and administration of an inde- 
pendent secret police force responsible to the party machine alone. 

The CC manipulated most Kuomintang votes and policies 
and so it controlled the appointment of most of the minor officials 

1 China Handbook, 1944, page 32, Chinese Ministry of Information, Chung- 
king, China. 

100 



on the lower rungs of government. It spear-headed the drive 
against liberals and Communists. In all this it acted as the chosen 
deputy of the Generalissimo, but the Generalissimo, in his own 
fashion, saw to it that even within the party a system of checks 
and balances operated to keep the CG from absolute control. 
In some provinces the tangpu and their superstructures were 
entirely dominated by the local war lord ; in other areas the party 
had definite particularistic, provincial tendencies. But most of 
the tangpu were staffed by local bureaucrats and by local gentry, 
and these were the stalwarts of the CG. 

The next clique reading from right wing to left spoke for 
the military. At the party Congresses the army's view was always 
a critical factor. If army representation had been unified, it 
might have been the tail to crack the Kuomintang whip. But it 
was split between the military bureaucracy of Ho Ying-ch'in, 
Minister of War for fourteen years, and the ardent young men of* 
the Whampoa clique. 

The Whampoa clique consisted of graduates of the military 
academy Chiang had founded near the Whampoa River in 
Canton twenty years before. These were warriors of a new stripe; 
Chiang's older friends were architects of the new state, but here 
was its product. Many Whampoa graduates had been lost in 
the early civil war against the war lords and in later campaigns 
against the Communists; those who survived were a closely knit 
group. As the years rolled by, they rose in rank. Some forty 
divisions of Chinese troops, a scant quarter of the total force at 
the beginning of the war, were commanded by Whampoa men; 
by the end over two-thirds of all divisions were under Whampoa 
command. Two men were popularly accepted as spokesmen for 
this clique General Hu Tsung-nan, graduate of the famous 
first class at Whampoa, and Ch'en Ch'eng, a youthful Whampoa 
instructor who succeeded Ho Ying-ch'in in 1 944 as Minister of War. 

Ho's men were the most influential of the military in the 
Kuomintang, as befitted their senior years and dignity. But the 
younger Whampoa men, with zeal and cohesiveness, held the 
promise of the future, and they voted at their own discretion. 
Between the two groups there was little long-range political 
difference. Both were authoritarian; both believed in the voice 
of violence in political decisions. But the Whampoa men stood 
for a relatively efficient administration and a house-cleaning 
of the dead wood that burdened the war effort, while Ho's 



101 



henchmen wanted simply a perpetuation of the status quo with 
all its fumbling and corruption. 

One of the interim successors to Ch'en Li-fu as head of the 
party's organization board was a German-trained scholar, Dr. 
Chu Chia-hwa, who detested the CC. He gathered able and pro- 
gressive party members about him. Chu Chia-hwa 's clique could not 
be pigeonholed so neatly as the others. What it stood for was not 
precisely defined; it was right wing, but not of the extreme right. 
Dr. Chu, using his small faction to make combinations, threw its 
weight where it might help tip the balance to the side of efficiency. 

Towards the centre and nearer to American standards was the 
Political Science Clique. These men, mostly educated in Japan or 
America, understood modern business methods and wanted to 
make, an efficient China, safe for industry and with an industry 
that would do the country good. They stood for orderly govern- 
ment by law, for a conservative but streamlined modern-style 
state. Among them were some of China's foremost technicians, 
who understood what should be but was not being done. The 
Political Science Clique had drawn its main strength from the 
businessmen of Shanghai and northern China, and the war, 
by wiping out these groups, had stripped the Political Science 
group of its main source of power. Since the thinking of the group 
was direct, non-mystical, and modern, and since many of its 
leaders spoke English, Americans found them easier to compre- 
hend than other Chinese. Chiang, as he was forced to deal more 
closely with America, naturally put more and more of the 
Political Science Clique into key jobs. Here they performed in an 
able but restrained fashion, while they dreamed of the efficiency 
they could achieve if power, as well as the labour, were theirs. 

The Kuomintang even had its liberals. The left-wingers were 
led by Sun Fo, son of Sun Yat-sen. Because his father was also the 
father of the revolution, Sun feared no persecution and, almost 
alone in China, could say what he believed ; concentration camp 
or torture could never be inflicted on him. He thought and acted 
in Western terms; he wanted Western reforms. But he was a 
scholar, probably the best-read person in Chungking a man of 
silk, not of steel. His intelligence flickered over the panorama of 
Chinese politics with astonishing brilliance, but he could not 
match in drive or vigour the hard-bitten men who controlled the 
Kuomintang. Though he would not break with the Kuomintang, 
102 



he did have the courage to oppose it from within and to speak 
publicly against oppression and corruption. He said what the 
people were thinking but did not dare to say. Sun was president 
of the Legislative Yuan, a niche more impressive than important. 
He knew what was going on in the party, and he used his position 
to urge democracy and a bill of rights. Tremendous popular 
support rolled up behind him, but he could command few votes 
within the party. Chiang K'ai-shek used to refuse to see him 
for months at a time. 

The Generalissimo reigned, as tsungtsai, or director general, 
over the entire Kuomintang. Less than i o per cent of the party 
membership was independent of his will. The few real malcon- 
tents rallied about Sun Fo in search of some of the ideals of the 
revolution; the others fought clamorously for Chiang's attention. 
The Generalissimo paid keen attention to sessions of the Central 
Executive Committee and sensed the temper of minority criticism, 
then decided on cabinet changes or policy statements in inner 
council with the leaders of the various factions. Sometimes he 
tossed away the myth of party trusteeship and simply strode into 
meetings to announce his will to the Standing Committee and 
receive its submissive approval. When the grip of the CC seemed 
threatened, the Generalissimo rushed to its defence. And when 
American criticism became too pressing, he would give a plum 
to one or two fairly respectable characters from the Political 
Science Clique to show his good faith. 

The inner sanctum of the Generalissimo was the point from 
which to view the party framework in proper perspective. There 
his secretaries winnowed the thousands of visitors and gleaned 
from the hundreds of memoranda the reports the Generalissimo 
would handle personally. Access to Chiang's ear was access to high 
political might. Quick decision could be found only in his personal 
chamber, and only his command could steer the administration out 
of well-worn ruts. The Generalissimo had almost unlimited power 
even on paper. In theory the Central Executive Committee could 
instruct him; in practice he instructed the committee, and he had 
the legal right to veto any CEC decision. His grip on the govern- 
ment was also legal; the work* of the Supreme National Defence 
Council, which was the highest wartime organ of state, was con- 
centrated in the hands of eleven members chosen by him. The 
entire council met only when he, as chairman, called it together. 

103 



The government insistently denied that this was dictatorship, 
but it described the function of its supreme body thus : 

The chairman of the Supreme National Defence Council, 
according to its organizational law, has emergency powers. He 
does not have to adhere to the ordinary procedure while handling 
party, political and military affairs. He has the authority to issue 
such decrees as may be necessitated by the situation. In actual 
practice, however, the chairman usually consults members of the 
standing committee before exercising these powers. 1 

The great trouble with the Chinese government was that 
policy-making and administration were separated by a gulf as 
great as the one that set the Generalissimo off from his trembling 
functionaries. High policy was the Generalissimo's domain, and 
administration was conducted by a handful of men who could be 
trusted never to overstep their limited powers. 

Chiang divided his administration into three main spheres 
army, party, and civil government which he confided to a 
triumvirate of three men unquestioningly loyal to him. Even 
these three men were surrounded by a delicate series of checks 
and balances that operated to throw all major decisions back 
into his lap. But in spite of these limits this triumvirate was for 
five years the greatest power in the land after the Generalissimo. 
Ho Ying-ch'in ran the army; Ch'en Li-fu ran the party; H. H. 
Kung ran the civilian government. All three, smooth and charm- 
ing, had learned how to fit their own egos to the harsh angularities 
of the Generalissimo's personality. Kung was on the far side of 
middle age and Ch'en Li-fu on the near side, but all of them had 
been Chiang's comrades-in-arms for some twenty years. 

In a country at war the army is the most important branch of 
affairs, and General Ho was probably the most powerful of 
Chiang's three aides. Ho was in his late fifties a stocky, well- 
built man with a round face; he was invariably courteous, and 
his eyes, behind spectacles, seemed almost schoolmasterly. His 
strength came primarily from his position as the Generalissimo's 
military deputy, secondarily from the political machine he built 
for himself in the army. Ho was rumoured to be one of the 
wealthiest landlords in all Kweichow, the backward province 
where he was born. He had studied at the Japanese Military 
Academy at the same time as the Generalissimo. Like Chiang, 

1 China Handbook, 1944, page 50. 
104 



he left Japan to join in the 1911 uprising against the Manchus; 
his real career began with his appointment as dean of the Kuom- 
intang's Whampoa military academy, and ever afterwards he 
followed Chiang like a shadow. In 1927 he became chief of staff 
of the national armies, a post that he held until May, 1946. 

Ho directed the war from his offices in the rambling grey build- 
ings of the National Military Council. He was a desk soldier, and 
paper work flowed past his deputies in fantastic confusion. As 
Minister of War and chief of staff from the outbreak of the war 
against Japan until the Stilwell crisis, he was probably responsi- 
ble, more than any other man except Chiang K'ai-shek, for the 
incompetent direction and gradual rotting away of the Chinese 
armies in the field. There were times when Chungking openly 
talked of the current price for a job as a regimental commander. 
The starving of Chinese soldiers, the extortion and slaughter of 
conscription, the pay-rolls padded with the names of dead men 
were all accepted by the capital as the natural consequence of a 
corruption traceable directly to the offices of the Ministry of War. 

Within the army itself Ho was far from being undisputed chief. 
His opposition was the Whampoa clique, the cadet faction that 
had grown to maturity during the war. By his control of supplies 
and funds Ho could favour one unit over another and build up a 
loyalty among men who were dependent on him. But two-thirds 
of the divisions were commanded by Whampoa men, most of 
whom sneered at Ho. One of the Whampoa leaders was General 
Hu Tsung-nan, in his middle forties. He commanded the troops 
who blockaded the Communists and sat at the Yellow River 
crossings threatened by the Japanese. Hu was perhaps closer to 
the Generalissimo's affection than any younger man in the army, 
and he was mentioned as Chiang's successor. Rabidly anti- 
Communist, like Ho Ying-ch'in, he detested the latter and during 
the war permitted no interference by Ho in his personal war 
area. Even in budget, supply, or personnel matters Hu Tsung- 
nan took questions directly to the Generalissimo; his divisions 
had larger allowances per capita than any other units in the 
Chinese army. 

Ch'en Ch'eng, another Whampoa leader and second rival of 
Ho Ying-ch'in in the army, was probably the officer most liked 
by Americans in China. He was a slim man, barely over five 
feet tall, whose hair became greyer with each year of war. He was 
high in the Generalissimo's favour in the early phases of the war 



105 



and proved abje to get along with the Communists then, but he 
gradually slipped into the obscurity of a frontal command. His 
chief task in the mid-war years was to defend the Yangtze gorges, 
the bottleneck approach to Chungking. He was lifted from this 
job by the Americans in 1943 and made commander of the joint 
Sino-American training programme and commander of the 
Salween troops, which were to punch through to Burma. Ch'en's 
elevation to this post infuriated Ho Ying-ch'in, who saw his rival 
becoming, with the aid of American supplies and equipment, 
the most important figure in the army. Americans believed that 
Ho's irritation caused the sabotage of the training programme, 
the slow rate of combat replacements to the Salween, and the 
niggardly budget allowed by the general staff to Ch'en's com- 
mand. Not until Ho forced Ch'en out of his job and had a more 
amenable officer placed in command of the American training 
programme did it gather momentum. 

Ho Ying-ch'in, Hu Tsung-nan, and Ch'en Ch'eng all gave 
fealty to the Generalissimo. Though they rarely agreed on 
strategy, the Generalissimo liked them all, and he placated and 
soothed one after the other; nevertheless he saw to it that Ho, 
his chief of staff, retained his dominant prestige. It was Ho who 
had daily access to the Generalissimo's office; over- all planning 
and inspection were Ho's responsibility. Even after the storm 
broke around Ho, when the corruption and inefficiency of the 
troops were obvious and Americans forced the substitution of 
Ch'en Ch'eng as Minister of War, Ho remained chief of staff and 
the top figure in the army. 

Ch'en Li-fu, the party organizer and leader of the CC in the 
Kuomintang, was easily the most impressive man of the trium- 
virate of deputies. He had an exquisitely handsome face, with 
burning eyes and glossy silver hair, and seemed as fragile as a 
piece of old ivory. He was a ruthless, hated zealot high- 
principled, relentless, and incorruptible; he was anti-foreign and 
a mystical nationalist. He had no personal fortune, nor had he 
ever been charged with corruption. The Generalissimo was bound 
to Ch'en by an ancient debt. Chiang's first patron in the days of 
his poverty in Shanghai was the strong-arm patriot Ch'en Chi- 
mei; Ch'en Li-fu was this man's nephew and as such almost a 
ward of the Generalissimo's. Ch'en had been Chiang's personal 
secretary during the great Northern March in 1927, and later 
106 



Chiang named him chief of the organization board of the Kuomin- 
tang to purge the party of all elements of liberal or Communist taint. 

Ch'en Li-fu could explain himself with passionate eloquence. 
To him the great menace to China was Communism, which he 
held to be an alien aggression against Chinese thought. Ch'en 
was a great Kuomintang theorist, and his writings were an 
inchoate mass of half-rational, half-mystical pronouncements; no 
American could possibly understand them. Ch'en dedicated him- 
self to rooting out everything he thought foreign to China's heri- 
tage. He believed that Western industry could be grafted onto 
the body of China's ancient society without disturbing her time- 
honoured codes and customs. He regarded the West as the 
Japanese did an inferior civilization possessed of certain savage 
tricks that are highly useful in modern society. His attitude was 
the same that Western travellers take when they watch Australian 
bushmen wielding the boomerang or African savages throwing 
poison darts that these are effective devices, which should be 
studied, but that the culture that begets them has little else to 
offer. On the other hand Ch'en Li-fu grew lyrical in extolling 
the greatness of China's past and explained the difference be- 
tween the Chinese and American revolutions in poetical terms. 
The Americans, he said, had to discover new truths on which to 
found a state, but the Chinese only had to work backwards and re- 
discover their old truths. Ch'en bristled at the charge that he was 
a reactionary; he saw himself as a crusader trying to save China 
from Communism. His sleep was untroubled by the screams of 
those who suffered in Kuomintang concentration camps or by the 
terrors his police imposed on liberals. 

Thus Ch'en represented all those Chinese who saw their coun- 
try only through traditional classicism. Chinese classics set their 
primary emphasis on order and , stability in society; the ruler 
must be wise, the people obedient. Philosophers had set out for 
every man his station in life, and from that station there was no 
escape. All relationships between classes were regulated, and the 
government's function was to see that each man behaved accord- 
ing to his place in society. The classics are still a drag on Chinese 
thinking; despite the tremendous inroads of modern education, 
hundreds of thousands of semi-literate citizens of China still see 
the ancient codes and manners as binding on society, much as 
American fundamentalists regard the Bible as binding on their 
personal lives. Ch'en Li-fu most nearly symbolized this basic 

107 



faith in China's past. The rural gentry, the reservoir of Chinese 
classicism, produced no other figure unless possibly Chiang 
himself with convictions strong enough to withstand the impact 
of the modern world. Unlike most mystics Ch'en had two great 
practical qualifications. He had had a sound technological educa- 
tion in America at the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied 
to be a mining engineer, and he had a brutal mastery of the tools 
of police power. He was a man of incongruities he spoke in the 
tongue of men and angels; he was a master of polished Chinese 
classical prose; he was an exquisite calligrapher; yet he could roll 
up his sleeves and make a deal across the table with the toughest 
characters in Chinese politics. 

As Minister of Education during the war years Ch'en had a 
free hand in the shaping of Chinese minds. The great universities 
had written an epic of scholarship and adventure on their trek 
into the interior; the rst of the war was, intellectually, an anti- 
climax. Both students and professors went hungry; inflation made 
the instructors beggars. The cream of the nation's youth had been 
skimmed off for war in the early years; in the north they joined 
the Communists, while in central China they became Kuomintang 
officers. The students who succeeded them were a mixed crew. 
By law any student at a high school or university was exempt from 
the draft; scholarship was more honourable and much more 
desirable than military service. Enrollment boomed. Some of 
the students, perhaps most, were sincerely patriotic, but the 
government taught them little and found nothing much for them 
to do. Ch'en Li-fu boasted of the change he brought about in 
shifting interest from liberal arts to technology. Before the war 
almost 70 per cent of the students in Chinese universities were 
enrolled in liberal arts courses; under Ch'en the percentage 
dropped to approximately 50 per cent. There was no quarrel 
anywhere in China with this shift in scholastic emphasis; a 
country at war needs engineers more than professors. But Ch'en 
wa&not content; he established an intellectual reign of terror in 
political subjects such as history, economics, and sociology. Dis- 
cussion of politics was forbidden at the universities; students spied 
on their teachers, and faculty members spied on one another. 

The Kuomintang, alarmed by the number of liberal, Com- 
munist, and generally critical students, organized the San Min 
Chu I Youth Corps as a junior branch of the Kuomintang. The 
Youth Corps went to school; the government paid the bill. Within 
1 08 



a year there were 50,000 members. Professors wailed that colleges 
were being ruined because, although Corps members pulled down 
the scholarship level, they could not be flunked. The Corps was 
Fascist in thought and appearance; it hailed the cult of the leader; 
it held summer conventions where sturdy young men and women 
marched about, barking the Chinese equivalent of " Heir' and 
giving the clenched fist salute. On the campus it bullied liberals 
and radicals into silence in the knowledge that it had the full 
backing of the government behind it. 

Ch'en Li-fu said he believed in academic freedom, but pro- 
fessors who disagreed with him grew thin and hungry as inflation 
took its course. They watched their words; their classrooms were 
dangerous. The most famous economist in China was Professor 
Ma Yin-ch'u, a jovial man who was graduated from Yale and 
who once taught economics to the Generalissimo. Professor Ma 
lectured on inflation, a subject that grew to be of fascinating 
interest and inevitably touched on government. One evening 
Professor Ma was invited to dinner with the Generalissimo. When 
he got into the car that was sent for him, the two guards in the 
front seat, with apologies for their rudeness, told him that he was 
under arrest. For two years he lived in concentration camps or 
under police surveillance. This was not a breach of academic 
freedom, Ch'en Li-fu insisted. Professor Ma was nominally a 
member of the Kuomintang; he had been criticizing the party's 
policy in public ; it was a breach of party discipline for which he 
was being punished. 

Ch'en Li-fu conducted his ministry as if he were directing an 
army. The careers of opposition professors in the national univer- 
sities withered, while men who saw their way to agreement with 
him flourished. Ch'en set about establishing a regimentation of 
thought that was alien to the entire spirit of modern Chinese- 
education. The government had approved textbooks for all 
subjects, and these textbooks set the standards of knowledge from 
secondary schools to colleges. As prewar texts wore out and were 
replaced by the new texts, Chinese students from end to end of 
the country began to parrot the same phrases. Given time, Ch'en 
Li-fu felt that all China would be studying one code of thought, 
learning one code of manners, and those codes would be after his 
own heart. Ch'en's intellectual preoccupation went hand in hand 
with an organizing genius that would have done credit to a 
Tammany ward heeler. Once having manoeuvred his men into 

109 



key posts, he kept them rigidly in line and had their loyalty 
checked constantly by the secret police he controlled. 

During the middle years of the war Ch'en Li-fu rode high. His 
censors made the press, stage, and literary world writhe under his 
directives. As the truth and fiction of war separated more widely, 
the censors eased the government's embarrassment by sup- 
pressing the truth and creating a mythical China. A formal edict 
was handed down by one of the Ministers of Information, a CG 
appointee, that all authors should avoid realism and pessimism; 
they should write gay, cheery things. A whole list of subjects was 
forbidden for public discussion in print; it included Communism 
and the Communist problem, China's relations with Russia, 
affairs in turbulent Chinese Turkestan, criticism of America or 
Britain, corruption in the government, sufferings of the troops 
at the front, persecutipn of the peasantry. It was forbidden to 
analyse taxation, to criticize government financial policy, to print 
any figure about the budget or currency circulation. It was forbidden 
to criticize any member of the government, his personality, his 
family, his conduct. It was forbidden even to talk about rising prices ! 

The third member of the triumvirate around Chiang K'ai- 
shek was Dr. Kung Hsiang-hsi, the husband of one of the 
Generalissimo's sisters-in-law; he was premier of China until 
another brother-in-law, T. V. Soong, succeeded him in 1944. 
Kung was a round man with a soft face draped with pendulous 
flabby chins, which made him a cartoonist's delight. He took 
pride in being a lineal descendant of Confucius, in the seventy- 
fifth generation. H. H. Kung was born into a Shansi banking 
family about sixty-five years ago, taught school in Shansi, went to 
America, received a degree at Yale, and returned to become a 
revolutionary. Before taking part in national politics he amassed a 
fortune as agent of the Standard Oil Company in Shansi. His rise 
to power began with his marriage into the fabulous Soong family. 
The youngest Soong daughter is Madame Chiang K'ai-shek; the 
second daughter is the widow of Dr. Sun Yat-sen; the oldest 
daughter is Madame H. H. Kung; the oldest son is T. V. Soong. 
Madame Kung is probably the shrewdest of the Soongs. Under 
her far from gentle stimulus her husband became one of the most 
powerful men in China. He was made the first Minister of 
Industry in 1930, president of China's Central Bank in 1933, and 
premier and Minister of Finance at the beginning of the war. He 
no 



became the Generalissimo's deputy for the curious apparatus that 
was supposed to be the civilian government. 

The war years did not treat Dr. Kung too gently. While his 
family played in Hongkong or America, Kung lived alone in his 
mansion under the bombs in Chungking. He acquired malaria 
and a spleen condition that made his personal life a torment. An 
amiable man, he disliked quarrels or crises, and he could be 
coaxed into almost anything with a smile or a sob story. He was 
the favourite target of American salesmen for high-pressure 
campaigns. His one great desire was to be loved, and those who 
knew him well found him so lovable that they called him Daddy. 
Kung was a great patron of the Y.M.C.A. in China; as a 
Y.M.C.A. man he might have achieved the affection his thirsty 
soul craved. Unfortunately for Daddy, power politics sets 
standards that differ from those of the Y.M.C.A. Confucius was 
no help either, and after seven years of diligent, bumbling service 
to the national cause, Daddy ended as runner-up for the title of 
most unpopular character in China. The Chinese, with the most 
biting sense of humour in the world, delight in public humiliation. 
The henpecked figure of their premier, gutlessly presiding over a 
cabinet that reeked of corruption and indecision, surrounded by 
a kitchen council of cringing sycophants, symbolized all the 
ridiculous decay they saw in their nation. 

Criticism of Kung, the favourite indoor sport of Chungking for 
five years, was both personal and political. Kung is intensely 
sensitive to the personal variety. Once he asked an American what 
people were saying about him, and the American replied, "Well, 
people mostly say that you're a sucker for flattery and that your 
family is terribly corrupt." Kung thought for a moment, then 
commented, "But I always know when flattery is sincere. " The 
personal criticism of Kung and his family often passed far beyond 
truth and decency. One of Kung's friends said that ninety per cent 
of the gossip was not true, but added, "Ten per cent is even worse 
than the gossip. " 

Kung's son, David, was made a director of the Central Trust, 
the chief government purchasing agency, at the age of twenty- 
two. The young man was not fitted either by temperament or 
training for such a job, and his conduct was outrageous. 

The feminine side of the family was no better. Kung's youngest 
daughter, Jeannette, was inordinately arrogant. When the 
American government sent Madame Chiang K'ai-shek and 



Jeannette back to China on a 0-54, the plane arrived across the 
Hump with barely enough gasoline to make the return trip. 
Jeannette ordered the American ground crew to drain the wing 
tanks because she wanted the gasoline herself. The American 
Army crew naturally refused, and she was furious. When Kung's 
oldest daughter, Rosamund, flew to America to be married, her 
father commandeered one of the National Airways' aircraft to fly 
a trousseau across the Hump for her. Madame Kung lived in 
Hongkong until Pearl Harbour; then she stayed briefly in 
Chungking, flew to America to join Madame Chiang in 1943, anc * 
remained abroad. She is a woman with a highly developed money 
sense. One or two of her financial operations, like her whispered 
activities in the Shanghai textile market, were normal com- 
mercial flyers. But many of her deals, such as her transactions in 
foreign exchange, made commercial history and involved a 
manipulation based on facts that only the wife of the Minister of 
Finance would know. The conduct of all Kung's family mocked 
the misery of the nation. Kung himself was a " liberal"; he dis- 
liked torture, concentration camps, violence, and in foreign affairs 
he stood for a close association with the Western democracies. 
He had none of those sinister qualities that made Ch'en Li-fu so 
dangerous; yet the people of China saw in him a grotesque 
caricature of what they were fighting for, and they hated him. 

Political criticism of Kung was equally sharp. The General- 
issimo was the president of the Executive Yuan, supreme head of 
the government; in theory his deputy was Dr. H. H. Kung as 
vice-president of the Executive Yuan, but in practice both the 
army and the party did as they liked, and Kung was low man on 
the totem pole. The cabinet met once a week in Chungking. It 
had little real authority even in routine matters; what authority 
the Generalissimo could spare belonged to the Supreme National 
Defence Council, the Military Council, or the Kuomintang 
Standing Committee. The ministers took their lead from decisions 
of the senior councils and rode off on their own out of Kung's 
reach. Kung, for example, could not control T. V. Soong, who 
was Minister of Foreign Affairs. Everything in this field was 
decided on either by T. V. in consultation with the Generalissimo 
or by the Generalissimo in consultation with the kitchen cabinet. 
Kung could exercise no authority over Ho Ying-ch'in, who sat 
in the cabinet as Minister of War. He could not argue with the 
Ministry of Education, which was represented in the cabinet by 

112 



Ch'en Li-fu. He could not even command provincial administra- 
tions; their governors were appointed by the Generalissimo on the 
basis of some local equation of power and politics. 

Occasionally a daring wave of public criticism or disgusted 
American pressure would force some cabinet change. Then Kung 
was almost powerless; the Generalissimo did the reshuffling. And 
the Generalissimo made cabinet changes almost the way American 
children play musical chairs; on the given signal everyone would 
rush for someone else's seat. The Generalissimo's game was unique 
to the extent that there were usually the same number of chairs 
and the same number of players, and no one was ever left without 
a place for long. The Generalissimo trusted few men; these few 
held office with monotonous regularity. If a minister were forced 
out of the cabinet by some particularly noisome scandal, he 
usually became secretary general of something or other and 
eventually reappeared as minister of a different department. Out- 
siders rarely got into the game. 

Kung was good-hearted. He issued fine orders to remit taxes in 
stricken provinces and appropriated great wads of money to meet 
temporary emergencies, but once he had signed his name he 
thought his work was done, and his good intentions died stillborn 
in Chungking. His main function was to keep the government and 
army supplied with money. He was Minister of Finance, president 
of the Central Bank, president of the Central Trust, and later 
president of the Bank of China. To run China on any sound 
economic basis required basic political decisions that only Chiang 
K'ai-shek could make. To crack down on landlords who hoarded 
grain, to set up a graduated tax, required dynamic social leader- 
ship, which the Kuomintang suppressed. The characteristic 
Chinese attitude toward taxes is reflected in an item from the 
government news service: "To set an example for others Mr 
Chang Tao-fan, Minister of Overseas Affairs, has voluntarily paid 
the inheritance tax on a fortune estimated at $150,000 which he 
recently inherited from his deceased father." 

Kung could not touch the vital point where government met 
people the grain tax in the villages. There was a horde of some 
300,000 tax collectors, usually appointed locally, for the govern- 
ment's authority rested on its ability to hand out franchises for 
graft. Kung took the easy way out and printed money. Chinese 
currency in circulation rose from a billion and a half dollars in 
1937 to a trillion in 1946; prices followed currency upward until 
Eo 113 



at V-J day they stood at 2500 times the prewar level. The people 
denounced Kung for the inflation, and economists privately 
flayed him. Kung shrugged, serene in the confidence of his 
masters. As long as he could produce enough money, Chiang, 
Ho, and Ch'en were pleased with him. He held Chinese Currency 
at the fictitious rate of $20.00 Chinese to $1.00 U.S. by a system 
of rigid exchange controls. The rate had no connection with 
reality, and the black market exchange went as high as 600 to i 
while he held office, later 3000 to i. Kung insisted that as long 
as the formal exchange rate was fixed, there was no inflation. "If 
people want to pay $20,000 for a fountain pen, that's their busi- 
ness, it's not inflation," he said once. "They're crazy, that's all." 

Kung's preoccupation with the maintenance of the formal 20- 
to-i exchange rate was not without an element of cunning. The 
American Army had to build its installations and bases by paying 
for them in Chinese currency; it could not buy its currency on the 
black market for 400, 600, or 800 to i, but had to pay at the fixed 
rate $1.00 U.S. for each $20.00 Chinese. As prices soared in 
China, so did the price of every purchase of the American govern- 
ment, till finally the building of an air base was costing 
$40,000,000 U.S. and the building of a bamboo latrine from 
$10,000 U.S. up. The Chinese government was accumulating 
ever larger funds of American dollars on deposit in its name in 
New York, while the American Army was receiving less for every 
purchase. By the time the Army refused to go on with the agree- 
ment any longer, hundreds of millions of dollars had been ac- 
cumulated by the Ministry of Finance. In a strictly commercial 
sense Kung had made a killing for his government, but from a 
long-range point of view it was a penny-wise, pound-foolish 
transaction. The extortionate exchange rate was known to every 
American GI in China, who felt that America was being swindled 
in the most scandalous and blatant fashion. Our men resented 
the huge outlay of funds, and the bitterness they brought back 
with them to America at the end of the war was much too high 
a price politically for the Chinese to pay for the dollar credits in 
New York. 

Kung needed a few good men in order to operate at all, but the 
financial chaos made efficient members of the government feel 
as if they were wading through a swamp. He chose one of the 
most brilliant men in China, Dr. T. F. Tsiang, to be budget 
director. Tsiang laboured like a Trojan over the estimates coming 
114 



in from the clamorous unco-ordinated ministries. He was de- 
nounced by CC people as a pink, by outsiders as a Kung man; 
and when pressure was put on Daddy, the estimates always had 
to cave in. Tsiang drew up the official budget a publicly known 
secret, which no one was allowed to publish. In addition the 
Generalissimo had a personal budget for " extraordinary 
expenses " that was said to be almost as large; the Generalissimo 
wrote enormous cheques running into hundreds of millions of 
dollars for his favourites, and government banks honoured them 
with the same paper credits and paper money that backed up 
the regular budget. Even Tsiang could achieve little when it was 
possible for an honoured associate to go to the Generalissimo and 
get twice the money his bureau had been allotted. Yet it was 
sometimes difficult for an outsider to criticise the way things were 
going with a feeling of being completely justified. The fixed 
salaries of junior government officers lagged behind the inflation 
and offered them no choice but starvation or corruption. Salaries 
were usually bolstered by bonuses drawn from money received 
outside the budget ; the supplementary grants kept key men alive 
and working with relative honesty but also made them dependent 
on the favour of their immediate superiors, who had to curry 
favour with other superiors, straight on up to the Generalissimo. 

Two other men of glowing integrity and ability, in addition to 
Tsiang, were in vital posts. One was Dr. Wong Wen-hao, Minister 
of Economics and chief of the Natural Resources Commission; 
the other was General Yu Ta-wei, the director of ordnance. 
Wong ran the processing industries salvaged from the coast 
copper refining, steel production, electric power; Yu directed the 
arsenals that supplied the guns and bullets to keep China's armies 
fighting. Budget grants to Yu were so small that he could not 
afford to buy materials from Wong Wen-hao to make into arms ; 
Wong could not lower his prices without going bankrupt, because 
his budget also was too small. So the steel mills functioned at 
20 per cent of capacity, arms-making equipment lay idle in 'dugout 
caves, and the soldiers at the front cursed everyone from Kung 
on down for the lack of supplies. 

At a serious conference, when the economic crisis had all but 
stopped production, Kung gravely suggested that the director 
of ordnance produce cigarette-making machinery in his arsenals 
and sell it at a big profit; then he could afford to make guns! It 
was that kind of government. 

"5 



CHAPTER 8 

CHIANG K'AI-SHEK 
THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE? 

FOR ALL THAT any observer might see the years of war 
dealt kindly with Chiang K'ai-shek. His face changed by scarcely 
a line or a wrinkle. Always immaculate, always encased in an 
armour of self-discipline, he preserved his personality safe from 
the prying curiosity of the public. Countless mass meetings hung 
upon the short-clipped words he shrilled forth in his high-pitched 
Chekiang accent. None ever saw him kindled by the emotion that 
flickered from the adoring crowds; none ever saw him acknow- 
ledge the surging cheers with more than a slow, taut smile or the 
quick bobbing of his head. 

Only the most convulsive moment of emotion can make him 
lift the hard casing of control in public and show the man 
beneath. In August 1945 Chiang sat quietly in a stuffy radio 
station in Chungking waiting to tell the Chinese people that the 
war was over. He was, as always, fixedly composed. His pate was 
shaven clean, and no telltale fuzz indicated greying hair. His 
spotless khaki tunic, barren of any decoration, was tightly but- 
toned at the throat and buckled with a Sam Browne belt; a 
fountain pen was clipped in his pocket. The studio was hot, and 
the twenty people in the room oozed sweat; only the General- 
issimo seemed cool. He adjusted horn-rimmed glasses, glanced 
at the scarlet flowers on the table before him, and slowly turned 
to the microphone to inform the people in his clear, high voice 
that victory had been won. As he spoke, a loudspeaker outside 
the building spread the news; and crowds, recognizing his con- 
spicuous sedan, began to gather outside the stone building. He 
could hear the faint sound of cheers. 

Chiang finished in ten minutes. Then suddenly his head 
sagged ; beneath his dark eyes the pouches of sleeplessness let go ; 
the muscles of his slight body relaxed in profound exhaustion. 
For a fleeting moment the smooth exterior was punctured, the 
weariness and strain breaking through at the moment of victory 
to show the man. As quickly as the mood came it was gone, and 
he walked out of the studio, passed through the crowd with a 
116 



smiling nod here and there, then sped back to his home. Watching 
him descend the stairs through the crowd to his sedan, no one 
could tell that here was a man who had just seen the defeat of his 
national enemy and who, only that night, was about to set in 
motion the wheels of machinery that was to engulf the country 
afresh in civil war. 

Chiang's personal discipline is one of the first clues to his com- 
plex, involved character. It has been bred of a tempestuous, 
storm-tossed life and, like his lust for power, his calculating ruth- 
lessness, his monumental stubbornness, has become more than an 
individual characteristic it is a force in national politics. 
Chiang's character reflects and distorts fifty of the most turbulent 
years in Chinese history. 

Chiang K'ai-shek was born almost sixty years ago into the 
home of a small Chekiang farmer, a member of the governing 
group of the village, at a moment when China was entering a 
period of almost unprecedented chaos and disaster. His boy- 
hood was sad. On his fiftieth birthday he wrote: 

My father died when I was nine years old. . . . The miser- 
able condition of my family at that time is beyond description. 
My family, solitary and without influence, became at once the 
target of much insult and maltreatment. ... It was entirely 
due to my mother and her kindness and perseverance that the 
family was saved from utter ruin. For a period of seventeen 
years from the age of nine until I was twenty-five years old 
my mother never spent a day free from domestic difficulties. 

China, in Chiang's boyhood, was prey to every humiliation 
foreign arms could heap on her, and Chiang, moved by the 
national disaster, chose to become a soldier. He studied briefly 
in Japan, then returned to participate in the competitive examina- 
tions for admission to the first Chinese military academy, at 
Paoting. He passed these examinations with distinction and 
within a year had marked himself as one of the academy's out- 
standing students. He was one of a handful chosen by the 
academy in 1907 to be trained in Japan, and x there he was soon 
selected to serve with a Japanese field artillery regiment as a 
cadet. He did not like Japan and later spoke bitterly of his service 
there. But he did like military life. Once he told a group of 
Chinese students who had joined his army none too voluntarily: 

117 



When I was a young man, I made up my mind to become a 
soldier. I have always believed that to be in the army is the 
highest experience of human existence as well as the highest 
form of revolutionary activity. All that I now possess in 
experience, knowledge, spirit, and personality I gained 
through military training and experience. 

While he was in Japan, he was stirred, like other student 
thinkers, by Sun Yat-sen's vision of a new China, strong and 
great. In 191 1 he returned to China to join the uprising that over- 
threw the Manchus and established the Chinese Republic. When 
the first republic proved a mockery, he went to Shanghai; what 
he did there is a matter of gossip and guess, for official biographies 
skip hastily over this period. It is known, though, that he was 
helped by a revolutionary named Ch'en Chi-mei, uncle of the 
CC brothers. In 1915 Chiang participated in another military 
coup aimed at seizing the Kiangnan arsenal near Shanghai. 
His comrades of that adventure, who are still among his intimate 
associates, fled the country, but Chiang disappeared somewhere 
into Shanghai's murky underworld. He lived a fast, hard life of 
personal danger, hunger, and abandon; then for a while he was 
an inconspicuous clerk on the Shanghai stock exchange. At 
that time, the underworld of Shanghai was dominated by the 
notorious Green Gang that controlled the city's rackets of opium, 
prostitution, and extortion. The Green Gang was an urban out- 
growth of one of the many secret societies that have flourished in 
China for centuries. Such a gang has no counterpart in western 
life; it sank its roots into all the filth and misery of the great 
lawless city, disposed of its gunmen as it saw fit, protected its 
clients by violence, was an organized force perhaps more powerful 
than the police. The border line between violent insurrectionary 
and outright gangster was often blurred; men passed between 
the two worlds with ease. No biographer can trace Chiang's 
precise degree of association with the Green Gang; but no in- 
formed Chinese denies the association, and no account of China's 
revolution fails to record that at every crisis in Shanghai, the 
gang acted in his support. 

Out from the mists of Shanghai, Chiang K'ai-shek strode forth 
into the full blaze of Chinese national politics at Canton in the 
summer of 1924. Precisely how he arrived at this eminence from 
his previous estate of penniless dependency on the Shanghai 
118 



publicans is obscure. He served briefly with a Fukienese war lord 
after Shanghai; he had been brought to Sun Yat-sen's attention 
by his Shanghai friends, and Sun sent him to study Russian 
military techniques at Moscow in 1923. He had returned to China 
and Canton with a huge distrust of the Russians but a shrewd 
appreciation of the methods of the one-party state. Canton in 
those days was bursting with fresh energy and new ideas. Kuo- 
mintang leaders argued and competed; intrigue dissolved and 
remade political alliances. During the two years of Chiang's 
stay in Canton he was never beaten in a quarrel. He staged his 
first successful armed coup in the spring of 1926 against the left 
wing of his own party; it was a masterful piece of timing, and 
after Sun Yat-sen's death he succeeded to the post of party 
leader. 

During the next twenty years both China and Chiang changed, 
but his dominance in the Kuomintang was never once seriously 
threatened. His one passion now became and remained an over- 
riding lust for power. All his politics revolved about the concept 
of force. He had grown up in a time of treachery and violence. 
There were few standards of human decency his early war-lord 
contemporaries did not violate; they obeyed no law but power, 
and Chiang outwitted them at their own game. His false starts 
in insurrection had taught him that he should show no mercy 
to the vanquished and that the victor remains victor only as 
long as his armies are intact. When he started north from Canton 
in 1926 to seize the Yangtze Valley, he was an accomplished 
student in all the arts of buying men or killing them. 

A full decade elapsed between the success of the Nationalist 
Revolution in 1927 and the invasion by the Japanese in 1937, 
a decade in which the frail, brooding figure of Chiang K'ai-shek 
grew ever larger and more meaningful in the life of China. Chiang 
was shrewd only a shrewd man could have built up his power 
from that of an insurrectionary to that of a leader willing and 
able to offer combat to the Japanese Empire. He knew how to 
draw on the Shanghai business world for support in money and 
goods; he was student enough to bring some of China's finest 
scholars into his administration. Power had come to Chiang K'ai- 
shek as he rode the crest of a revolution to triumph over the war 
lords ; the wave receded, but Chiang consolidated his victory on a 
new basis. He still spoke of a Nationalist Revolution but the 
fact that the revolution involved the will of the people escaped 

"9 



him. Chiang relied not on the emotion of the peasant masses but 
on an army and its guns. 

The war against Japan made Chiang K'ai-shek almost a demi- 
god. For a brief moment at the war's outbreak he stood as the 
incarnate symbol of all China's will to resistance and freedom. 
Once again, as in the days of revolution, he was China doing 
China's will, above reproach, above criticism, above all advice. 

Chiang lived frugally by American standards. He breakfasted 
on fresh fruit, toast, and milk. On state occasions his cook pre- 
pared some of the most succulent delicacies of China, but at 
home with Madame Chiang the Generalissimo dipped his chop- 
sticks into simple food. He took little exercise except for long walks 
in the country, with a covey of guards around him. He suffered 
from the back injury he had received during the Sian kidnapping, 
and his false teeth bothered him. The set he used during the war 
was made by a Canadian missionary in western China; it was not 
quite comfortable, and he often went about at home without it. 
Once he had to cancel all public appearances while it was 
repaired. Except for these minor irritations his health was good. 
He always seemed composed and confident; during a conversation 
only his foot, tapping nervously, and the continual grunt of "Hao, 
hao" revealed the nervous tension that always seethed inside him. 

As the leader of China at war Chiang was still harsh and ruth- 
less, but he cloaked himself in the sanctity of a deacon; he became 
a devout and practising Methodist. His utterances rang with the 
sincerity of a Puritan, but his ferocity was that of an old Testa- 
ment Joshua. He read the Bible every day and frowned on sin with 
the intensity of one who has sampled it and found it less reward- 
ing than piety. He did not smoke; he rarely drank. It is true that 
American officers saw him at formal banquets when he would reach 
back into his past and toss down wine with the best, but among 
Chinese he was the ascetic. When the Communist leader Mao Tse- 
tung arrived in Chungking to talk about a truce in China's civil war, 
Chiang lifted a toast to him, but only touched the cup to his lips. 

Chiang was incorruptible. Chinese pointed out, however, that a 
man who had everything he could possibly want could afford to 
be honest. The government provided him with an unlimited 
budget, a fleet of limousines, and the best house wherever he 
went. The Americans gave him a private aeroplane. In Chung- 
king he had a town house in his headquarters compound; across 
120 



the Yangtze River, which he crossed by private launch, was a 
magnificent country home. Later in the war he built a group 
of villas as far outside Chungking in the other direction, named his 
own "Shantung", and used the others to entertain state guests. 
The houses, however modest by American standards, were magni- 
ficent for Szechwan. They even had chrome-and-tile bathrooms, 
which so awed the workmen that at one guest cottage, later 
visited by Ambassador Hurley, they laid the entrance path 
straight to the bathroom door. 

Now Chiang, reigning over China, was high above all ordinary 
mortals. He was infuriated by gossip he would have shrugged off 
twenty years earlier. Once Chungking relayed the tale that during 
Madame's absence the Generalissimo had lived with a young 
nurse named Miss Ch'en, who cooked his native food for him. 
The story was idle gossip, but it galled Chiang so that he sum- 
moned cabinet ministers, foreign missionaries, and two corres- 
pondents and proclaimed in the presence of Madame Chiang 
his Christianity, his true monogamous love, his complete denial 
of the gossip. Even during a month of disastrous military defeat 
this garden confessional got top billing in Chungking conver- 
sation for days. Semi-official transcripts of the Generalissimo's 
denial could be obtained from the government on request. 

The New Life Movement was one of the more voluntary 
methods Chiang used for imposing the convictions and tastes of 
his maturity on his people. The movement frowned on luxury, 
smoking, drinking, dancing, permanent waves, gambling, spit- 
ting in the streets. Every now and then the police tried to make 
the rules stick; they stopped pedestrians from smoking in public 
and told people not to throw orange peels in the gutters. These 
outbursts of public piety passed away quickly; in the inner circle 
they were regarded as personal foibles of Chiang's. Though even 
Madame Chiang enjoyed cigarettes, the Generalissimo frowned 
especially on Western dissipations. No dance was held in Chung- 
king till late in 1943, when the American Army garrison was so 
large that the prohibition could no longer be made to stick. 
Chinese were still forbidden to dance unless foreigners were 
present ; once a private house was raided because of dancing and 
the guests arrested after the last American soldier had left. 

No one knows how many positions Chiang K'ai-shek held 

during the war years. At one time his secretary said there were 

Ei 121 



at least eighty-two; he imagined a complete list could be found 
somewhere, but he had never compiled one. The Ministry of 
Information made up an incomplete list, which stated that among 
other things Chiang K'ai-shek was : chief executive of the Kuomin- 
tang; president of the National Government; chairman of the 
National Military Council; commander-in-chief of land, naval, 
and air forces; supreme commander, China theatre; president 
of the State Council; chairman of the Supreme National Defence 
Council; director general of the Central Planning Board; chair- 
man of the Party and Political Work Evaluation Committee; 
director of the New Life Movement Association; chairman of the 
Commission for Inauguration of Constitutional Government; 
president of the Central Training Corps; president of the School 
for Descendants of Revolutionary Martyrs; president of the 
National Glider Association. 1 

Chiang K'ai-shek thought of himself first as a military leader. 
Though he may have been military director of his country's war 
effort, he was no strategist. General Wedemeyer was shocked 
when he arrived in China in 1944 to find that over half the 
Chinese soldiers were starving not undernourished, but actually 
starving and that Chiang had no effective over-all plan for 
either attack or defence. Chiang was not very successful in trying 
to outguess the Japanese or in moving defending forces to a 
position before a thrust came; he sent soldiers trudging to the 
front after battle had begun, though the Japanese had the 



chairman, Commission on Aeronautical Affairs; chancellor, Central 
Political Institute; president, Central Military Academy; president, Central 
Police Academy; president, Chinese Air Force Juvenile Cadets School; presi- 
dent, Staff College; chairman, Board of Directors of the Joint Board of Four 
Government Banks; member, Overseas Chinese Contributions Custody Com- 
mittee; president, China Aviation League; president, National Spiritual 
Mobilization Council; president, Chinese Air Force Cadets School; honorary 
president, National Central University; president, Central Youth Cadre 
School; director, San Min Chu I Youth Corps; honorary chairman, National 
Red Cross Society of China; honorary president, Boy Scout Association of 
China; president, Central Military Police Academy; president, Cavalry School; 
president, Artillery School; president, Engineers School; president, Military 
Supplies School; president, Mechanized Unit School; president, Signal School; 
president, Northwest Special Arms Associated Branch School; president, 
Special Arms Cadre Training Corps; president, Special Cadre Training Class; 
president, Cadre Training Class; president, Northwest Guerrilla Cadre Train- 
ing Class; president, Southwest Guerrilla Cadre Training Class; president, 
Quartermaster Corps School; president, Ordnance Technical School; presi- 
dent, Army Medical School ; president, Veterinary School; president, Surveying 
School ; president, Gendarmerie Training School, etc. He was also at various times 
president of the Executive Yuan and chairman of the National Economic Council. 

122 



advantage of mobility. American officers said, summing up his 
strategy, "He's a sucker for a feint." 

Chiang thought of himself as a soldier, but his true genius 
lay in politics; he had no equal in the ancient art of hog- trading. 
Ringmaster at a balancing act, he brought China together and 
kept it together. If his soldiers starved, that was the price of 
keeping the loyalty of dubious generals, who profited from their 
death. If he sent into battle soldiers who were doomed before 
they heard gunfire, that was one way of reducing the forces of 
a commander who might have challenged him. 

As a politician Chiang dealt in force rather than ideas. Any 
concept of China that differed from his own was treated with as 
much hostility as an enemy division. In both party and govern- 
ment, above honesty, experience, or ability, he insisted on the 
one qualification of complete, unconditional loyalty to himself. 
Since loyalty involved agreement, Chiang became a sage; 
Chinese tradition respects scholarship above all things, and the 
great ruler in Chinese eyes is the great teacher. Chiang's public 
speeches began to sound like an instructor chastening his pupils; 
he repeated over and over, "Be loyal; study hard; work hard; 
love your country." Every national decision was made by him, 
and he gradually came to believe that his knowledge and judg- 
ment were better than any subordinate's. 

When inflation grew into one of the country's biggest problems, 
a high official of the government quipped, "The trouble with 
China is that the Generalissimo doesn't know anything about 
economics, and his Minister of Finance doesn't know anything, 
either. " Nevertheless the Generalissimo wrote a book about 
economics. It was a windy, foggy book full of ignorant theories, 
and his own scholars recoiled from the shock of it; wiser men in 
the government bravely had the brochure withdrawn from cir- 
culation. Suppression made it a choice collector's item. During the 
fall of 1942 and early 1943, the Generalissimo spent long hours in 
his country home polishing his master work, China's Destiny. It 
was largely written by one of his personal secretaries, but the 
ideas and the final gloss were his own. Here was another omni- 
scient textbook; it covered the anthropology of the Chinese 
people, the nation's history, its future reconstruction. His advisers 
took alarm at his interpretation of China's modern history, which 
was viciously, indiscriminately antiforeign. He heaped on 
foreigners the blame for war-lordism, prostitution, gun-running, 

123 



opium-smoking, gangsterism, and all the bloody chaos at the 
birth of the Chinese Republic; he bewailed the influence of 
foreign missionaries and their universities on Chinese culture. 
This book sold half a million copies before it was " withdrawn for 
revision," probably at the insistence of Madame Chiang. It too 
became a collector's item but no foreign correspondent was per- 
mitted by censorship to quote from it. 

With government, army, and party as his own private domain 
Chiang's curiosity and whims reached down to the lowest levels. 
Sometimes he scolded, sometimes he punished, sometimes he 
taught; no decision was too trivial to interest him. When he saw 
the preview of the only big motion picture produced in Chung- 
king during the war, a Chinese version of Amleto Vespa's thriller, 
Secret Agent of Japan, he sent it back to the studio with personal 
instructions to insert more footage on the work of the Kuomin- 
tang. The Minister of Information called on him once in a long 
gown; the minister, Chiang said, was too young to wear an old- 
fashioned gown and sho\ild wear Western clothes. Chiang decided 
who should and who should not be allowed to go to America; 
he decided which students of the government Graduate School of 
Journalism should have scholarships to study abroad. Students of 
the National Central University complained of their food, and 
the Generalissimo went out to have a meal at their mess himself; 
he decided the food was good enough. 

When his troops were fighting north of Mandalay, he wired to 
General Stilwell: "I hear that watermelons are plentiful in the 
region of Mandalay. Chinese soldiers like watermelons. See to it 
that each company gets a watermelon each day." He deluged 
commanders at the front with orders about trivial details, with- 
out regard to the wretched state of China's communications. 
Each day he read the Chungking press, to mark little things that 
pleased or displeased him. When General Stilwell was relieved, 
the Generalissimo had foreign correspondents' dispatches trans- 
lated into Chinese and censored them himself totally. He sent 
out orders on tabs of paper; sometimes he was forgetful and the 
orders conflicted. "Make all provincial governments set the col- 
lection of grain before all things this year," he would write; later 
another tab would come down: "This year the gathering of new 
recruits is the primary task of all provincial governments." 

To foreigners his outer reserve argued stability, a sweetly 
rational quality in a mad society. But sometimes Chiang erupted 
124 



from his expressionless calm into a rage in which he threw tea- 
cups, pounded on tables, shrieked, and yelled like a top-sergeant. 
When he dealt with a rare character who refused to scrape before 
him, like T. V. Soong, the results were dramatic. Their most 
violent argument over the Communist problem in 1935 resulted 
in Soong's disappearance from power for years. The British 
Ambassador Sir Archibald Clark-Kerr engineered another 
meeting in 1938; this, too, ended in a tempest. Early in 
1944 Chiang met T. V. again, and the result was another pro- 
longed exile of Soong from power. In the summer of 1944, 
Chiang was strolling along a country road when he saw an officer 
leading recruits roped together. Such sights were common in 
country places, but Chiang was infuriated and beat the officer 
until a bodyguard rescued the man. When the Generalissimo 
was reminded of the horror of Chinese conscription, he sum- 
moned the general in charge of conscription and beat him un- 
mercifully; the general was executed the next spring. 

High officials with Western training realized that the General- 
issimo was a poor administrator. In guarded private conversations 
they admitted his faults but always set against them his one huge 
virtue he meant to keep China in the war until Japan was 
defeated; other men might sicken and tire, but he was China, 
and he never faltered. No one else could keep all the balances 
in Chinese politics so nicely adjusted and still maintain resistance. 
He placed his armies so that they would fight together against 
the enemy but never against him; the war lords were placated 
by deft commitments; men who disliked him supported him be- 
cause he was recognized by the world as the proper recipient of 
loans and supplies to China. He controlled all the massive misery 
of the countryside by the loyalty of the landlords and warded off 
pressure from America with promises of reform. 

In the summer of 1940 morale had reached an all-time low. 
Everything was wrong. The Japanese were bombing day and 
night, and the clear sky that brought the bombers was also sear- 
ing rice in the fields and bringing famine. The Japanese were in 
Indo-China; American policy was indecisive; the British 
announced that they were closing the Burma Road. Chiang burst 
out: "Nimen ta suan pan! (You people are counting beads on the 
counting board!) You count how many troops we have, how 
many rounds of ammunition, how many gallons of gasoline. But 
I don't care. When I started seventeen years ago, I had 2000 

125 



cadets in a military school. America, France, England, and Japan 
were against me. The Communists were stronger than they are 
today. And I had no money. But I marched north and beat the 
war lords. I united the country. Today I have 3,000,000 men 
and half of China, and England and America are friends. Let 
them come if they drive me back to Tibet, in five years I will be 
back and will conquer all China again." For Chiang it was his war, 
his enemy, his responsibility. He looked back not on three years of 
war against Japan but on seventeen years in his personal career. 
China was as much his own as the little academy in Canton had been. 
Chiang felt just as personally about the only Chinese group 
he could not control, the Communists. Only the Communists 
could afford organized disobedience. They had their own terri- 
tory and their own army, and they were beyond Chiang's reach. 
They defied him; therefore in his eyes they were disloyal to China, 
and he hated them. In 1941 he said: "You think it is important 
that I have kept the Japanese from expanding during these 
years. ... I tell you it is more important that I have kept the 
Communists from spreading. The Japanese are a disease of the 
skin; the Communists are a disease of the heart. They say they 
wish to support me, but secretly all they want is to overthrow 
me." His was a personal war. He remembered the Communists 
as he had seen them last during the Long March. He had had 
the pilot of his plane follow the long, straggling line of Communist 
marchers fleeing over the hills for several hours so that he could 
look down and watch. 

Just when it was that loyalty to Chiang's leadership began to 
crumble is difficult to say, but certainly disaffection set in about 
the same time among the war lords, in Chungking, and among 
the peasants. By the end of 1943 there was open discontent in the 
headquarters of various field commanders, many of whom had 
fought Chiang in past civil wars and followed his leadership now 
only because of the greater menace of the Japanese. In the south- 
west, Cantonese and Kwangsi generals growled at Chiang with 
unconcealed anger from the security of their own camps; they 
had known him when he had been just another warrior; to them 
he was no god but a partner who ought to find money and 
supplies for them. Independent war lords far to the northwest 
and in Szechwan, Yunnan, and Sikang were kept in line by 
Chiang by the award of honorary titles; he let them pursue their 
126 



private grafts, whether opium-running or simple double taxation, 
as long as they fulfilled his demands for new recruits for the army 
and new rice for the food tax. Chiang had contended with such 
enemies for years, and he knew how to handle them. 

Criticism of Chiang had notably infected Chungking by 1944. 
Even those who felt that Chiang was the living embodiment of 
the Chinese state, the rock in the quicksands of defeat, felt that 
the "old man" was slipping that he, like other leaders, was open 
to criticism. A more crucial sentiment against Chiang that grew 
with every month held that China was greater than Chiang and 
that Chiang himself was the point of paralysis. The group who 
felt this way believed that Chinese energies were being held back 
by the nature of Chiang's political balances and commitments, 
that he could not balance corruption, duplicity, and extortion 
and get a net effect of strength. Energy could come only from the 
people, and Chiang's alliances bound him to the oppressors of 
the people. Chiang emptied the vials of his wrath on this group 
of unorganized critics within and without his own party. He 
could deal with all, no matter how corrupt, who held him in 
the same esteem he held himself; but any who could not accept 
his formula that he was China were pariahs, to be ferreted out 
and terrorized by his secret police. Some who hated Chiang more 
than they loved China went over to the Japanese; others sought 
a safe obscurity in a differeht province, in private business, in the 
humdrum lower reaches of the bureaucracy. Except for a for- 
tunate few the rest had to guard their every word. 

Among those who could talk were some of the most honoured 
names of the Nationalist Revolution. Gentle Madame Sun Yat- 
sen, widow of the Kuomintang's founder, had a courage of steel. 
She never attacked Chiang in public, but neither did she hide 
her bitterness at the corruption and dissolution of the nation. She 
preserved all the revolutionary ideals that had brought the Kuo- 
mintang to power, and she gave quiet support to harassed liberal 
and democratic groups. Dr. Sun Fo, for his part, did not hesitate 
to speak his mind, either to Chiang or in open meeting; Chiang 
could censor his accusations in both the foreign and the domestic 
press, but he could not stop them. T. V. Soong also was too 
fearless and too prominent to be intimidated; he could be 
silenced only by admission once again to power. 

The peasants too had had their fill of Chiang K'ai-shek's 
government by 1944. His picture hung in government offices in 

127 



every village, and his name was still a magic symbol, but the men 
who did his will among the peasants were hated and excoriated. 
As early as 1942 reports of peasant uprisings began to seep into 
the capital. These reports half gossip, half fact came from 
everywhere, from areas remote from Communist influence. Dis- 
content was spreading through the hundreds of thousands of 
villages still under Kuomintang administration. There were up- 
risings in Kweichow and Kansu, in Fukien and Hupeh. In Szech- 
wanese villages there were riots angry, unorganized, unco- 
ordinated. Chiang lived in a state of increasing petulance; bad 
news of this sort made him furious. His temper flared so often 
that people sought to bring him only pleasant news and flattery. 
The press was silenced, and signs hung in country teahouses: 
"It is forbidden to discuss national affairs." 

Of all the grotesque elements of this personal government per- 
haps the most incongruous was Chiang's assessment of his own 
role. Chiang sincerely believed he was leading China to democ- 
racy; it enraged him to be called a dictator. Once Chou En-lai, 
chief Communist representative in Chungking, told him that the 
Communists would turn over control of their army only to a 
democratic government. Said Chiang, "Would you call me 
undemocratic?" 

CHAPTER 9 
DOOMED MEN THE CHINESE ARMY 

DURING THE FIRST World War the Germans sent General 
Ludendorff to visit the Austrian high command. His laconic 
report became legendary: "We are allied to a corpse." 

Within a few months after Pearl Harbour the American Army 
in Asia came to almost precisely the same conclusion about its 
Chinese ally. The years of stalemate had made the Chinese army 
a pulp, a tired, dispirited, unorganized mass, despised by the 
enemy, alien to its own people, neglected by its government, 
ridiculed by its allies. No one doubted the courage of the Chinese 
soldier, but the army had no mobility, no strength, no leadership. 

A simple set of figures told more than volumes of narrative 
about China's army. In 1938, when the first Japanese offensive 
campaigns had ended, the Chinese army mustered 4,000,000 
men. For the next six years the Chinese government conscripted 
128 



a million and a half men a year; at a minimum the army should 
have had 12,000,000 men on its rosters by 1944. But there were 
still only 4,000,000 and these could be called effective only by 
courtesy. What had happened to the other 8,000,000? No one 
knew for sure. Battle deaths and casualties accounted for perhaps 
a million lives in the intervening years of stalemate. The other 
7,000,000 had simply vanished. They were missing because they 
had died of sickness and hunger or because they had deserted 
individually to their homes or en masse to the enemy. 

China had a conscript army, recruited in the simplest and most 
cold-blooded fashion. Chinese recruiting had none of the trim- 
mings of number-drawing, physical examination, or legal 
exemption. Chungking decided how many men it wanted and 
assigned a certain quota to each province; the quota was sub- 
divided for each county and village, and then the drafting began. 
In some areas it was relatively honest, but on the whole it was 
unspeakably corrupt. No one with money need fight; local 
officials, for a fat profit, sold exemptions to the rich at standard 
open prices. Any peasant who could scrape the money together 
bought his way out. The men who were finally seized were often 
those who could least afford to leave their families. When a 
district had been stripped of eligible men, passersby were waylaid 
or recruits bought from organized press gangs at so much a 
head. Men were killed or mutilated in the process; sometimes 
they starved to death before they reached a recruiting camp. 
Men in the Chinese army never had a furlough, never went home, 
rarely received mail. Going into the army was usually a death 
sentence and more men died on their way to the army, through 
the recruiting process, the barbarous training camps, and long 
route marches, than after getting into it. 

A soldier who survived training to reach the army at the front 
was little better off than the raw recruit, for the Chinese army was 
starving to death in the field. The food the Chinese soldier got, if 
he were lucky, if his officers were honest, and if all regulations 
were obeyed, was rice and vegetables. His ration was supposed 
to be 24 ounces a day, but usually it was much less. This he sup- 
plemented with occasional beans or watery turnips or on the 
rarest occasions with meat, bought or seized from the countryside. 
American soldiers used to laugh when they saw Chinese troops 
carrying dead dogs slung from poles; they cursed when a pet 
puppy disappeared from their barracks. The Chinese troops stole 

129 



dogs and ate them because they were starving and because the 
fat pets the Americans kept ate more meat in a week than a 
Chinese soldier saw in a month. 

The route marches of the few armies that plodded across the 
country left a trail of wasted cadavers on all the mountain roads. 
Men in every stage of sickness and ill health would keep strugg- 
ling along with their units because they could get food only with 
their own companies. If they dropped from their line of march, 
they lay as they fell until they died. The rice the Chinese soldier 
stuffed into his belly and sometimes it was all he got was white, 
polished rice. Vitamins had been stripped off with the husks in 
the milling, and the troops suffered from every vitamin-deficiency 
disease Western textbooks record and a few more that had never 
been catalogued. Medical care in the Chinese army was primitive. 
China has about one doctor to every 45,000 people, the United 
States about one to every 800. In the thirty years before the war 
against Japan the Chinese government had registered only 
10,000 doctors, many of whom were simply medical mechanics, 
whose training equalled that of a pharmacist. Half of these 
"competent " physicians remained at the coast after the Japanese 
invasion; the other half lived inland or soon went there. Almost 
all the doctors in Free China were either in private practice 
or attached to government health bureaux and civilian hospitals. 
The entire Chinese army, with 300 divisions, shared the services of 
probably no more than 500 capable physicians and surgeons 
an average of slightly more than one to a division if they had been 
assigned equally. In practice the few good men were concen- 
trated in base hospitals and rear-area collecting points, while 
whole divisions were without even one competent doctor. 

The doctors who served the Chinese army were shockingly 
underpaid; they received perhaps a tenth of what they might 
have earned in private or civilian practice; they had few drugs or 
tools with which to work; the emotional drain of the appalling 
suffering in the army all but destroyed their own mental health. 
Those who chose to stay with the army lived a life of simple 
nobility and dignity. They devised makeshifts, forgot all their 
training in shining laboratories, and concentrated on what small 
improvements they could make in a hopeless situation. But many 
collapsed and left the service as fast as they could. The total 
result was that the average Chinese dressing station or divisional 
hospital was managed by men who would not be employed as 
130 



soda jerks in American pharmacies, by men who had no more 
idea of physiology and hygiene than a ploughman, by men who 
filtered into the medical service because its control of hospitals and 
supplies was one of the happy hunting-grounds of corruption. 

The army had a thousand ailments, most of which were due to 
starvation. With their constitutions ruined by poor food, sleep- 
lessness, and years at the front, the Chinese soldiers were ripe 
for any wandering infection. Probably 10 per cent of the troops 
were tubercular. Their cramped quarters, their undernourish- 
ment, their habit of plunging their chopsticks into a common bowl 
of food, made it almost impossible to take preventive measures. 
When troops were being gathered in China for the Burma cam- 
paign, one unit was marched from the Canton front to Kweiyang, 
where it was examined before being sent on to the active front in 
northern Burma. Supposedly it was a good unit and was being 
redeployed because it still had fighting effectiveness, but 30 per 
cent of the effectives died on the 5OO-mile march, and of the 
"sturdy" remainder 15 per cent were found by an American 
doctor to be suffering from consumption. 

Dysentery, malaria, and scabies were secondary scourges. 
Dysentery began to take an increasingly heavy toll of the Chinese 
army in 1939. The Chinese army treated 3000 cases of dysentery 
in 1938; in 1940, with essentially the same field personnel and 
the same number of soldiers in arms, it treated 15,900 more than 
five times as many. Of this number 10,000 were treated in the last 
six months of the year, for the simple but crushing reason that 
the effect of three years of undernourishment in ruining the resist- 
ance of the troops showed up suddenly then. The normal physical 
reserves of the Chinese soldier's body had sunk so low that when 
dysentery attacked and he could take no nourishment for a few 
days, his life would gutter out like a candle. The rolls would list 
his death as dysentery; actually he had died of starvation. 
Chinese hospitals could scarcely handle all the cases that came to 
them the badly managed institutions were dark charnel houses 
of horror. Before the American Army took over, one hospital 
near the Salween set aside a special ward with a concrete floor 
for sufferers from dysentery; the uncontrollable bowels of the sick 
men emptied onto the floor, which hospital attendants flushed 
with buckets of water. The filth was gobbled up by pigs near the 
hospital. The sick men could see the dead carried out each day 
to be buried on the hillside above the hospital enclosure. 



Malaria had been widespread in southern China before the 
war. The flood of the Yellow River, the movement of troops 
during the first two years of combat, and the peregrinations of the 
refugees spread it far to the north and blighted all China with the 
mosquito-borne parasite. Men rotted with it in Kwangsi in deep 
summer, and the soldiers in the hills of Shansi shivered with 
malarial chills in late fall. The troops who suffered most from 
malaria were those stationed along the gorge of the Salween 
River, where the battle line had to be held from 1942 to protect 
Kunming and the plateau from Japanese assault up the BurmaRoad. 

The Salween gorge is a dark scar across the western border- 
land of Yunnan. It falls sickeningly away from stupendous 
heights to a thin stream of rushing water 5000 feet below. The 
Rockefeller Foundation regarded it as one of the three worst 
malaria areas in the entire world. Malignant malaria had scoured 
some of the fertile meadow lands in the low valleys bare of human 
inhabitants. In the spfing of 1942 three Chinese divisions were 
rushed to the Salween gorge to stem the Burma breakthrough. 
One division marched into the bottom lines with 7000 men; 
three weeks later only 4000 were able to stand and fight. One 
company of the famous Eighty-eighth Division recorded 260 
men out of 500 sick with malaria in a single month. The Chung- 
king high command viewed the situation with shocking callous- 
ness. Only T. V. Soong, a civilian, out of favour in Chungking, 
had courage enough to bring the matter to the Generalissimo's 
attention. Until the Americans took over medical authority in 
that area, the troops had no mosquito nets. Ninety million tablets 
of quinine were on hand in storehouses, but the Chinese army 
insisted on hoarding them against a possible "emergency." 
Americans complained of the lethargy of Chinese troops, their 
laziness and sleepiness during the day. But the Americans slept 
under mosquito nets at night, whereas many Chinese squatted 
around their smudge fires till daybreak came and malaria-bearing 
mosquitoes disappeared in the sunlight then the Chinese rested. 

Scabies, a disease of vitamin deficiency and filth, attacked, by 
some estimates, more than half the Chinese troops. Those who 
were seriously infected had the itch not only on their hands, legs, 
and bodies, but on their faces, which were swollen and dripped 
pus. The army issued heavy cotton-padded uniforms to the troops 
in the cold months, and these were worn day and night, without 
changing, from fall to spring. There were no billets where 



Chinese troops could bathe in hot water, and no soap was 
issued. 

Beri-beri was another vitamin-deficiency disease. You could 
press your thumb into the swollen leg of a Chinese soldier who 
had beri-beri, and the thumb print would still be there ten 
minutes later. When vitamin Bi was injected into test subjects, 
improvement was miraculous, but there were no vitamins for the 
army as a whole. Leg ulcers suppurated; as the soldiers trudged 
in their sandalled feet, liquid filth from their sores trickled down 
their ankles to mix with road dust and flies. 

Although tuberculosis, dysentery, malaria, and vitamin- 
deficiency diseases were the chief scourges of the army, many 
other maladies flourished too. Typhus, influenza, relapsing fever, 
worms, all took their toll. Only venereal disease was conspicu- 
ously absent from the list. This was partly because Chinese 
troops lacked the money and the vitality for prostitutes, partly 
because opportunity was lacking, possibly because Chinese 
morals differed from those of Western armies. 

In medical treatment, as in practically everything else, China 
was handicapped by lack of supplies. Thousands of tons of drugs 
each month might have checked the diseases of the Chinese army, 
but until late in the war only 14 tons of foreign relief drugs came in 
each month, plus some for American Army special training units. 
China produced her own vaccines against cholera, and the army 
medical service succeeded in keeping that disease from decimating 
the ranks. If Asiatic cholera had taken hold in China in the closing 
years of the war, it might have reduced the population by a third. 

The treatment of the wounded, of course, was as bad as that 
of the sick. The soldier who fell on the field of battle lay there till 
his company stretcher-bearers two to a company found him; 
they carried him for a full day across the paddies or the hills to 
the divisional station. There, if he were lucky, the soldier found 
a medical handyman established in a barn or temple. This man 
might bind up his ruptured blood vessels, open since he was hit, 
apply bamboo splints to his broken limbs, which had been 
joggling on a stretcher for many hours, and send him on. If he 
was still alive then, he might be carried across the roadless belt 
of devastation that insulated the entire China front. Back in the 
communications zone a truck could take him to a real hospital, 
where, four days to a week later, he would reach the care of 
the first competent surgeon. The result was predictable. An 



abdominal or head wound meant certain death; an infected gash 
meant gangrene. 

It is easy to criticize the Chinese army for its treatment of the 
sick and wounded, but it would be wicked to ascribe all the suffer- 
ing to callous negligence. The staunch-hearted handful who 
fought to help the Chinese soldier men like Dr. Richard Lu 
of the Chinese army medical service and Dr. Robert Lim of the 
Chinese Red Cross suffered agonies themselves as reports came 
in from war areas. They could do nothing; they were trapped 
by the harsh reality of the ignorant, feudal country on the one 
hand, by corruption and lack of support from above on the other. 

Elementary sanitation could not be taught an army of men 
who were living in the Middle Ages; the soldiers had consulted 
herb doctors all their lives, hygiene was a mystery to them, 
and they believed in charms and ancient remedies. The medical 
corps wanted men to drink only boiled water, but when they were 
thirsty, soldiers drank from paddy fields. The medical corps 
wanted to isolate sick men, but soldiers in the field all ate from 
one common pot of food. The medical corps tried to see that all 
the men were supplied with first-aid kits containing bandage 
material, but soldiers who did have them used the padded 
gauze to swab out the barrels of their rifles. 

Competent technicians or trained personnel could not be 
found. During the war years Chinese medical schools were not 
prepared to turn out doctors in quantity or quality to meet the 
army's needs; they could educate yearly only four or five hundred 
students, who, with limited laboratory facilities and inadequate 
textbooks, out of touch with Western research, could not hope to 
be really good physicians. 

Supplies and ambulances could not be secured in amounts to 
meet the need. The strategy of the Chinese army required a belt 
of devastation all along the front so that the Japanese army 
would be forced to fight a foot war on equal terms with the 
Chinese infantry. There were no roads in this belt, and wounded 
soldiers had to be carried to the rear by other soldiers or by 
peasants. Even where there were roads, there were few ambu- 
lances. Five American ambulances in Europe could carry as many 
wounded to hospitals in a day as 2000 Chinese stretcher-bearers* 

The Chinese army had no real military tradition. Its com- 
mander-in-chief, Chiang K'ai-shek, was a graduate of the first 



class of the Paoting Military Academy, which had been founded 
only forty years before as the first concession of the classical 
mandarinate of the Manchus to modern war the first departure 
from immemorial pattern in two millenniums of Chinese military 
history. The Chinese army was a melange of sociological curios- 
ities. The general staff had no common training; it was a con- 
fused grouping of middle-aged men who had fought and hated 
each other for a generation. It gave its orders on the basis of the 
personalities involved or provincial political tensions and some- 
times wondered whether it would be obeyed or not. In deploy- 
ment of troops it thought not only of supply and the enemy but 
of internal revolts and domestic security. Twenty divisions of 
the best troops the government had were kept from the war 
against Japan in order to blockade the Communists in the north. 

Corruption in the Chinese forces was a cancer at the heart 
that infected every limb. Almost to the close of the war each 
division and army was treated as independent. Each division 
commander received a certain amount of money, which he 
apportioned as he saw fit for medical expenses, salaries, vege- 
tables, and other items incidental to the conduct of a campaign. 
As the inflation ate like acid at accepted ethics, the officers found 
themselves perhaps better placed strategically for grafting than 
any other group in the country. A divisional commander received, 
say, money and supplies for 10,000 men, which his subordinates 
in turn distributed to the lower echelons. But a division that 
carried 10,000 men on its roster might actually have only 9000 
men or 7000 or 5000! The difference between the roster 
strength and the actual strength of any unit was the measure of 
how much a commander could pocket personally. Further, the 
less he fed the living, the greater his profit. Graft coursed from one 
end of the Chinese army to the other. Payrolls were padded; 
rice rolls were padded; the abuse became so flagrant that a 
general's graft was finally recognized as his right. Divisions in the 
Chinese armies were supposed to have approximately 10,000 
men, but rarely did any division have more than 6000 and 
draft levies had to be fed into them constantly just to, replace 
the sick and dying. By 1943 some divisions had as few as 2000 
officers and men. 

Chinese officers treated their soldiers like animals. Soldiers 
could be beaten, even killed, at a commander's whim, and 
punishments included ear-cropping and flogging. Americans at 

135 



training centres were revolted to see how often a soldier might be 
punished by being made to kneel on his bare knees on a rocky 
parade ground, with his hands bound behind his back, until he 
collapsed in the burning sun. Soldiers were personal servants not 
only of the officers but of the officers' ladies and their families. 
In fact a soldier who got a chance to be servant to an officer's 
wife struck fortune; he might quietly change his uniform for a 
white-coated servant's smock and be a civilian again. It was 
dangerous to march a unit through a district from which a large 
number of its soldiers had come; they would melt off into the 
hills and never appear again. A story is told of a unit of 800 
carrier troops marching from Kansu in northern China to 
Yunnan to enter the American training programme; en route 
200 died of sickness; 300 deserted. Another division marching 
from northern China to the south passed happily or unhappily, 
as one's sympathy may suggest through Szechwan, from which 
most of its soldiers originally had been drawn; it started with 
7000 men but merged with 3000, for whole companies had dis- 
appeared to their homes. 

The kindest thing to say about some leaders of the Chinese 
officer corps is that they were incompetent. Besides thieving their 
men's food and money, ignoring their sickness, and flaying them 
mercilessly for infractions of discipline, they were bad leaders. 
Their staff work was inefficient. They reported to their superiors 
not what the situation actually was but what they thought their 
superiors wanted it to be. In Chungking these reports were 
accepted as fact, and decisions were based on them; errors 
multiplied and were compounded from top to bottom. Towns 
were reported recaptured that were still in Japanese hands; 
enemy casualties were always exaggerated at each remove from 
the battlefield, until, according to Chungking estimates, the 
entire Japanese army should have been wiped out. The military 
doctrine of the Chinese army was a chaotic mess of theory, with 
Japanese insignia of rank, German goose-stepping, Russian 
aerial tactics, Chinese supply practices, and hastily instilled 
American techniques. The Chinese even harked back to the Mid- 
dle Ages to explain some of the things they did. For example, 
when at one camp site American veterinarians tried to persuade 
the Chinese that their pack animals should not be lashed nose to 
post at night but be allowed to lie and rest, the Chinese explained 
that in the days of Kublai Khan, about A.D. 1250, it had been 
136 



customary to let pack animals lie down at night; but then one 
night, still in Kublai Khan's time, when many animals were 
lying asleep, a great snow had fallen, and the animals had all been 
buried beneath it and died. Since then Chinese armies had tied 
their horses with their heads high at night. 

The Chinese army was an infantry army. Early and late, 
American training officers hammered home American theories 
of dispersion, of advance towards the enemy with belly flat on 
the ground ; when the campaign on the Salween began, they stood 
aghast in their observation posts to see Chinese officers fling 
their troops erect against Japanese mountain strongholds. The 
Napoleonic charge was still good doctrine for some Chinese com- 
manders. No one who ever saw the Chinese soldier in the field 
doubts his valour, but it was expended so uselessly by Chinese 
leadership that observers sickened at the sight. Chinese ideas of 
security were similarly bad. A tremendous state police system 
was set up to watch for espionage and leakages of information. 
But Japanese agents were everywhere. One war area commander 
admitted that he paid a friendly visit to the Japanese commander 
he opposed, because the commander had been his school- 
mate in Japan. Individuals went back and forth between Chung- 
king and puppet officials of the Japanese government in Nanking. 
When, for example, the 6-29 project was still in the category of 
top secret and bases were being contemplated in western China, 
word leaked all the way to Shanghai, then under Japanese occu- 
pation. A Chinese contractor in a Japanese-occupied city at the 
coast, hearing from his friends that the Americans wanted big 
bases from which to bomb Japan, journeyed through the lines 
from the Japanese side to the Chinese side and proceeded to West 
China, where the bases were being built. He got a contract to 
work at one base, finished the job, and returned home to the 
Japanese-occupied city with his knowledge and profit. 

Beyond all this there were areas of deficiency in the Chinese 
army that were matters more for sorrow than for criticism. A 
significant portion of all the ills and evils came from the siege 
conditions under which 'China existed, and for the shortages 
American policy was as much to blame as anything. No other 
country in modern times was ever blockaded as China was after 
the closing of the Burma Road. When the road was cut off, some 
15,000 trucks were operating in China; three years later, perhaps 
5000. The difference spelled tragedy. It meant that troops could 



not be shifted from front to front to meet a threat and that each 
area commander became a local satrap, depending on his own 
resources, not on Central Government supply. 

The whole war effort was in the grip of paralysis. The busiest 
trunk highway in China, studied over a period of a month in the 
summer of 1943, averaged a daily count of 123 vehicles. This 
figure was for vehicles going both ways -jeeps, trucks, buses, and 
commercial vehicles, as well as army transportation. One of the 
three main arterial highways leading into Chungking, clocked in the 
same way, showed a daily average of only 60 vehicles, again for 
traffic going both ways. This general condition was reflected in 
Chinese military thinking. Chinese generals did not want to fight; 
they did not want to spend ammunition or gasoline unless they 
were forced to by intolerable pressure from above. They wanted to 
wait and wait until someone else had won the victory for them. 

Some men, even high in the army, were sound and courageous 
Wei Li-huang, whose decency and perseverance finally 
triumphed on the Salween; Ch'en Ch'eng, who began at last 
to clean the stinking stables in Chungking when he became 
Minister of War; Li Tsung-jen, the harsh brown K jpangsi 
soldier; Sun Li-jen, who learned his craft in Burma unu^ S til- 
well. Scattered over the whole sweep of the front were regimental 
and divisional commanders who stood out like islands of honesty 
in the swampland of the Chinese army. They pleaded the case 
of their men with more pathos and bitterness than any foreigner 
can hope to convey. Some of these field commanders hungered 
with their men, marched with them on foot, died with them under 
enemy fire. But they were a handful; the good in the Chinese 
army went with the bad, and the net result was infamy. 

That this army held the line against the Japanese for six years 
is the most remarkable thing of all the strange things about it. 
It would have been too much to expect actual combat victories. 
The army's greatest victory was its staying alive and withstand- 
ing the disintegrating pressure of its own government and society. 
Many could not withstand this pressure ; hundreds of thousands 
went over to the Japanese and joined the puppets of Wang 
Ching-wei; other thousands joined the Communists or surren- 
dered to them. The brutality and suffering that prevailed within 
the Chinese army degraded not only the senior officers and the 
men of the staff; it depraved the common soldier too. Treated 
like a dog, hungering for food, he sought to appease his inner 



discontent by taking what he could from one even weaker than 
himself the peasant. 

A young Chinese was sent to report on the scene of the " vic- 
tory " in western Hupeh in 1943, which had been touted by the 
press of China as a victory equal to Stalingrad. His unpublished 
report, long after the campaign was over, was a testament of 
disillusion and despair. Instead of a victory the reporter found 
that Chinese losses had been between 70,000 and 80,000, enemy 
losses between 3000 and 4000. More shocking yet was the apathy 
he found among the people. His report read : 

Politically, why were the peasants our enemies? Because we 
ourselves sent them over to the enemy. Before the enemy 
reached Lihsien and Tsing-chih, and when the situation was 
critical, the garrison there issued an order for the people to 
evacuate, only one member of each family being permitted 
to remain. After two days had passed, another order was issued 
ordering everyone without exception to leave, no one being 
allowed to remain. Any offender would be prosecuted as a 
traitor. After the people had left, the (Chinese) garrison 
plundered the whole city and carried off the stolen property. 
Those who were too old to leave their homes and unwilling to 
depart were killed. In some cases their houses were burned 
with them. On my arrival in Lihsien, clothes looted by the 
garrison from the people were still offered on the market for 
sale. I had talks with the people. At first they refused to tell 
me anything. Later when I mentioned Chungking and told 
them that I had come to make an inspection, they looked 
around and as no attention was paid to them, one man slowly 
put four fingers on the table and then turned the hand over. I 
understood his meaning. He meant to say that the (Chinese) 
44th Army looted the city completely. He told me in a low 
voice that the army raped, plundered, set incendiary fires, 
and murdered. When the country people had learned of the 
thorough looting of the city by the army, they wished to return 
home, but the troops did not permit them, and asked for money 
if they wished to pass. Each person had to pay five hundred 
to one thousand dollars. The 8yth Army acted likewise. 

In travelling along the front line I was astonished to learn 
from many people ^hat they thought that when the enemy 
arrived they would not make any disturbance. Where the 

*39 



people obtained this kind of information is worthy of investiga- 
tion. When the enemy advanced, in fact, they did not cause 
any disturbance to the people. Wherever they passed, they 
asked them to supply tea and water only. At the time they all 
said that the enemy was better than the Chinese troops. When 
they mentioned the Chinese troops, they felt them to be a 
third party and not their own troops at all. On their retreat, 
the enemy burned and killed on a large scale, giving them no 
time to repent. The enemy was extraordinarily crafty and 
cunning towards the Chinese people. 



CHAPTER i o 
STILWELL'S WAR 

THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT set up the China-Burma- 
India theatre of operations in the spring of 1942. The CBI 
command was the stuff of legends ; Americans used to say that 
you needed a crystal ball and a copy of Alice in Wonderland to 
understand it. No Hollywood producer would dare film the mad, 
unhappy grotesquerie of the CBI. It had everything maharajas, 
dancing girls, war lords, head-hunters, jungles, deserts, rac- 
keteers, secret agents. American pilots strafed enemy elephants 
from P-4o's. The Chinese Gestapo ferreted out beautiful enemy 
spies in our own headquarters and Japanese agents knifed an 
American intelligence officer in the streets of Calcutta. Chinese 
war lords introduced American army officers to the delights of 
the opium pipe; American engineers doctored sick work ele- 
phants with opium and paid native labourers with opium too. 
Leopards and tigers killed American soldiers, and GFs hunted 
them down with Garands. Birds built their nests in the exhaust 
vents of B-i7's in India while China howled for air power. 
Parties stomped over the silver floors of maharajas' palaces to 
the sound of boogie-woogie. American agents climbed through 
Himalayan passes to Lhasa to negotiate with the Dalai Lama 
for the friendship of Tibet. The U.S. Navy undertook to train a 
cavalry corps on the fringe of the Mongolian desert; it also 
trained the dread State Police of China in the technique of the 
F.B.I. American experts taught Chinese everything from potato 
growing to the newest methods of artificial insemination. 
140 



CBI politics were a fabulous compound of logistics, personali- 
ties, Communism, despotism, corruption, imperialism, nonsense, 
and tragic impotence. Nowhere in the world did American policy 
work with such oddly assorted characters. They included 
Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru; Lord Louis Mount- 
batten, of the British royal family, and Sir Archibald Wavell, 
poetaster warrior of the Western Desert; Chiang K'ai-shek, 
Generalissimo of the Chinese armies, and his brittle wife, Madame 
Chiang; and for minor characters the much-contriving governor 
of Yunnan, Ling Yun, and the handsome dark-eyed insurrec- 
tionary of the north, the Communist General Chou En-lai, along 
with a host of others. The Americans dealing with these people 
were just as colourful; they inevitably became infected with the 
same qualities of intrigue and dissension, and it was a divided, 
unhappy command. 

The sole reason for the existence of this theatre was to keep 
China in the war. Thus in the final campaign against Japan she 
might form the anvil on which the hammers of Allied might would 
beat the enemy to a pulp. It was the CBI's job to supply China, 
retrain, re-equip, and regroup her armies, and send them out 
once more to fight the Japanese. Almost a quarter of a million 
Americans were assigned to this task; billions of dollars were 
spent; thousands of lives were lost. It was an essential mission. 
What was accomplished here was awarded less recognition, less 
honour, less support, less encouragement, than any other phase 
of America's war effort. 

Priority tables rated the CBI theatre about the same as the 
Caribbean. It had a grandiose mission and only a fraction of the 
tools necessary to perform it. The GFs saw with blunt political 
realism that they were expendables working on a holding opera- 
tion; except for the gallant handful of Fourteenth Air Force 
combat personnel, who were fighting a strategy and war of their 
own, the Americans felt themselves a sop to political necessity. It 
is true that in a military way the CBI theatre could not compare 
with the great wars in Europe and the Pacific; its significance, 
primarily political, lay in the fact that for the first time men of 
a Western civilization had come to Asia as allies to fight side by 
side with Asiatics in a common cause. All the suffering and un- 
happiness of the Americans assigned to this task might have been 
justified if their efforts had been made the beginning of a crusade 
to introduce American ideas of freedom, democracy, and efficiency 

141 



into the turmoil of Asiatic politics. But they were not. High policy 
hamstrung the responsible commander in meeting the situation. 

The political responsibility, just as much as the military 
responsibility, rested on the shoulders of one man who was 
expected to accomplish miracles on a shoestring. General Joseph 
W. Stilwell was cut from no ordinary military cloth. He was a 
West Point graduate, had had a distinguished career in the First 
World War, and between wars had become one of the great 
specialists in infantry tactics in the U.S. Army. His assignments 
had shifted him between the United States and China for twenty 
years; sent to Peking as a language student shortly after the first 
World War, he had achieved fluency in the language and had also 
become an expert on Chinese military affairs. The outbreak of 
the war between China and Japan in 1937 had found him 
American military attach6 in northern China, and he had 
followed the early cotirse of the war on foot till the stalemate in 
1939. All this was conventional enough. 

But Stilwell had another quality rare in professional soldiers 
the long view. He was a man who could lift his eyes from the mud 
and the filth of the campaign and look to the horizon. He knew 
what the war was about. The awkward, vaguely worded directives 
that were issued to him to retrain the Chinese armies could easily 
have been interpreted as a humdrum routine assignment that 
would have brought both honour and happiness without heart- 
ache. Stilwell, however, saw his responsibility not merely to a 
directive but to the American people as a whole : to fight a war 
wholeheartedly, democratically, with no tolerance for corruption, 
duplicity, or the niceties of diplomatic double talk. 

Stilwell was ill served by his entire public relations staff. They 
saw the Old Man as a colourful, lovable figure who could best 
be interpreted to the American people as Vinegar Joe a cracker- 
barrel philosopher, a man of dry Yankee wit, a first-class fighting 
man. They obscured the warmth and tenderness of his spirit 
almost completely. The key to StilwelFs character was his 
realization of the dignity and worth of every man. He drew his 
understanding of life from no complicated ideologies but from a 
basic strain of American liberalism. He saw the Chinese peasant 
soldier as not even the Chinese officers saw him as a man who 
would fight like a man only when he was treated like a man. His 
affection for the Chinese peasant soldier was boundless. He had 
seen the hopeless early battles of China in 1937 and 1938 and had 
142 



come to believe in Chinese courage and gallantry as a cardinal 
article of faith. At the same time no American officer realized 
better the havoc that the years of corruption had wrought in the 
Chinese army. 

His entire programme was to train, feed, and equip the pulpy 
mass of humanity into which the Chinese army had degenerated 
and to make it fit to meet the Japanese on equal terms and shatter 
them. StilwelFs education in China had begun with his earliest 
assignment there twenty years before Pearl Harbour. Step by step 
he was led from preoccupation with the soldier as an individual, 
from the organization of individuals into a combat unit, to a 
realization that military change could come only by sweeping 
reform at the very heart of Chinese politics and administration. 
By the time he was midway in his career as commander of the 
CBI he realized that no grant of American aid, no fragile paper 
reform, no single army strengthened or individual battle won, 
could revitalize China. A modern army could function only in 
a modern state, and he believed this modern state could come 
only if American policy actively espoused democracy and effi- 
ciency in Chungking. When the Stilwell crisis materialized out of 
these convictions, many treated Stilwell as if he were an enemy of 
the Chinese Republic; the GI's in Burma, however, realized how 
wrong that judgment was. They were angry at Stilwell for an 
entirely different reason because they felt that he had been a 
"slopy lover", that he had favoured his Chinese troops in the 
jungle over his own Americans. 

Stilwell was the greatest and most inspiring figure in the CBI 
theatre. His honesty was like a rock; his martial courage and 
drive were complete and unquestioned; his simplicity mocked the 
garish atmosphere of intrigue in which he was expected to operate. 
But Stilwell had faults too and his faults sprang from his virtues. 
His contempt for cant and hypocrisy was always too thinly dis- 
guised for diplomacy. He could be simple and gentle with humble 
people, but his sharp tongue scraped the sensitivity of the pompous 
like sandpaper. He treated Chiang K'ai-shek as another soldier 
with due courtesy and respect but no scraping or bowing and 
their personalities clashed bitterly. 

StilweU's loyalty to his subordinates was proverbial. A brilliant 
combat soldier himself, he had first-class men as his combat 
deputies; but he disliked paper work, and the men who did his 
staff work served him atrociously. He retained old and trusted 

143 



soldiers long after their usefulness was ended and they had 
become a handicap. Good administration was essential in a 
theatre as large and complex as the CBI, which stretched from 
Karachi to Sian, a distance as great as from San Diego to New 
York. The slipshod staff work of some of his desk deputies left 
Stilwell open to constant criticism. 

An American officer once quipped, "To explain the CBI you 
need a three-dimensional organization chart with a wire frame 
work and five shades of coloured ribbon, which ought to indicate 
at least the simpler relationships." General Stilwell wore three 
hats. He was commander in chief of the CBI theatre; as such he 
was responsible to the War Department in Washington and com- 
manded all Americans in the CBI. But in China he was also chief 
of staff to Chiang K'ai-shek, who was supreme commander of the 
Chinese theatre of war; in this capacity Stilwell was responsible 
to Chiang. In India he was deputy commander of the South-East 
Asia Command, which had been set up in the summer of 1 943 ; 
and here he was directly beneath British Admiral Lord Louis 
Mountbatten. The dividing line between the China theatre and 
the South-East Asia theatre was vague. Major General George 
Stratemeyer was air officer for Stilwell; he commanded the 
Tenth Air Force in India and the Fourteenth Air Force 
(Chennault's) in China, but he was also responsible to Lord Louis 
Mountbatten, for he was strategic air commander of the Sovith- 
East Asia Command. 

In China, of course, Chiang had his own chief of staff, General 
Ho Ying-ch'in. Ho was chief of staff for the Chinese armies, while 
Stilwell was supposed to be chief of staff for the China theatre. 
In India, Lord Louis was commander only of South-East Asia 
a command that consisted of Ceylon and areas yet to be re- 
conquered; in practice he was based in India, drew his strength 
from India, and marshalled his troops in India but did not 
command there. India was commanded independently by Sir 
Claude Auchinleck, G.O.C. in India. The CBI was split down the 
middle by the wedge of Jap conquest in Burma. Over this wedge 
flew Air Transport Command that formed a hinge between the 
two separate areas, India and China. It was independent of 
Stilwell, Chiang K'ai-shek, and Mountbatten and was com- 
manded from Washington; it regarded itself as a kind of interstate 
command, above theatre jurisdiction. In 1944 the Twentieth 
144 



Bomber Command of the B-2g's, a great hoglike organism that 
consumed enormous quantities of goods and gasoline, entered the 
CBI ; this command was completely above any control except that 
of General Arnold in Washington. If all this does not sound exactly 
clear, it is because it was never quite clear to anyone in the field. 

None of the elements of this campaign pulled together harmoni- 
ously. The one thing Stilwell wanted to do was fight. This was 
war and he wanted to waste no moment of opportunity to hit 
the enemy wherever he was exposed with whatever resources were 
at hand. Fighting the Japanese was an obsession with Stilwell; 
the reconquest of Burma and the smashing of the China blockade 
preoccupied his every thought and energy. But a Burma campaign 
was opposed by the British, the Chinese, and even elements of the 
American Army. 

The main source of opposition was the British. India was the 
cornerstone of their entire imperial system, and British objectives 
in the war in Asia were, first, to retain control in India and, 
second, to reconquer the colonies ravished by the Japanese. China 
seemed remote to the British in every way. Since the United States 
was primarily responsible for the war against Japan, they felt 
that its strategy should be left in American hands; if American 
political and military plans required the smashing of the blockade 
about China, the British felt it would be unseemly of them not to 
acquiesce, but they gave only acquiescence, not full co-operation. 

The British had vast reserves in India. They had an estimated 
million Indian troops, a sizeable unit of the. Royal Air Force, a 
native industrial system incomparably greater than China's. 
Most of the energy of the government in India was devoted, how- 
ever, not to the prosecution of the war but to the maintenance of 
British rule. What military strength India could spare for the 
war against the Axis was diverted to the war against Germany, 
in which there was little danger that Indian troops would be 
contaminated by dangerous ideas. The British in India, like 
Chiang K'ai-shek in China, put most of their strength behind 
maintaining internal stability. This may seem a harsh judgment on 
the British troops, officers, and civil servants in India who sincerely 
believed they were furthering the great war against the Axis. In 
specific instances the co-operation of the Indian government with 
the American Army was magnificent. But the colonial framework 
within which the British worked, indeed their whole breeding and 
indoctrination, made their wholehearted co-operation impossible. 
Fo H5 



Stilwell needed British aid in order to use India as his base for 
a plunge into the Burma jungles. The British, however, had been 
shocked into a state of funk by events in Burma and Malaya. 
Churchill felt that Burma was a bad place for white men too 
malarial and with too enervating a climate. The British could not 
see how Stilwell, with a corporal's guard of Chinese and a few 
Indian divisions, could hope to make progress in an area the 
Japanese had won so easily. They did not want to begin any 
campaign in a colony they had lost until they had an over- 
whelming superiority in men and material, whereas Stilwell 
wanted to fight with bare equality or less. For two years Stilwell 
argued with the British command in the effort to goad them into 
activity, and tempers frayed to the breaking point. 

Politically, too, British interests diverged from Chinese and 
American. The British wanted Burma reconquered neither by 
Chinese, who were Orientals, nor by Americans, who were out- 
siders. They meant to have Burma again as a colony; to re- 
establish their prestige it was important that it should be retaken 
by British forces under the same flag they had carried in defeat. 
The American political advisers of Stilwell and the Office of War 
Information under his command would have liked to raise the 
battle cry of freedom in the areas Stilwell planned to reconquer; 
they knew this was impossible, and they were unhappy because 
they could not make American motives clear and clean in Asia. 
A propaganda campaign based on the idea of freedom which, 
after all, was what the war was presumably being fought about 
would have struck directly at British interests. The British were 
fighting two separate wars. In Europe they stood with all honour 
for the freedom of humanity and the destruction of the Nazi slave 
system; in Asia, for the status quo, for the Empire, for colonialism. 

Chinese opposition to StilwelTs programme is hard to analyse 
for in theory the Chinese wanted the blockade of their country 
smashed as quickly as possible; they did want a Burma campaign 
but not at great cost to themselves. If they' could crack the 
blockade by signing documents and agreeing to Allied decisions, 
they were all for it. But when it became necessary to implement 
strategy by concrete work, by energetic co-operation, that was 
something else. Chiang was perfectly willing to let Stilwell have 
his way with the Chinese troops cut off in India; they were fed, 
supplied, armed by other powers. But for China to implement 
the strategy herself would ^ave meant reform from the ground up 
146 



and reform would threaten the delicate balances of Chinese 
war-lord politics. The Chinese were convinced that America's 
entry into the war had doomed the Japanese; as one American 
wit said, "Pearl Harbour Day in America was Armistice Day out 
here." The Chinese felt that they need only wait until the enemy 
crumbled before American strength. 

The third source of opposition to Stilwell's plan was within the 
U.S. Army, in the person of a man just as colourful, just as 
determined, as much admired and as much hated, as Stilwell 
himself. This was Claire Chennault, airman extraordinary. 
Chennault was the advocate of air power completely, un- 
reservedly. For his beliefs, expressed repeatedly and without 
hesitation, he was forced out of the U.S. Army and went to China 
in 1936, where he watched and analysed the early battles of the 
Japanese air force against the Chinese and Russians. In 1941 he 
took out to Asia a handful of second-rate P-4o's and a collection 
of undisciplined, courageous, magnificent Army and Navy 
pilots from America to form the American Volunteer Group, 
which he welded into one of the most spectacular single striking 
groups in the history of aerial warfare, the Flying Tigers. When 
the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbour, he was ready to fight. 
Chennault's men shot the Japanese out of the skies with relentless 
success day after day while other Allied air fronts throughout the 
Pacific were collapsing before the Japanese Zeros. With the 
establishment of the CBI command Chennault was brought back 
into uniform as a brigadier general and was given command of the 
China Air Task Force, which was later to become the independent 
Fourteenth Air Force. 

Chennault held that the Japanese could be, and would be, 
defeated by air power. He saw China not as a base for ground 
operations against the enemy army but as a vast staging ground 
for aerial operations against the enemy's heartland and sea lanes. 
He wanted to base his American air force in eastern China and 
lash out from the coast against the enemy's shipping and ports. 
He felt that fighting in Burma was a waste of time; if he could 
sever Japan's ocean communications, the Japanese garrison in 
Burma would wither in starvation. To Chennault the Burma Road 
looked like a good thing to have but still a luxury; all American 
supplies and effort should be concentrated on the one great task 
of flying material into China, where it should be converted 
primarily into air power in the form of strength for the Fourteenth 



Air Force what was left should be turned over to the Chinese 
to do with as they saw fit. Chennault believed that with sufficient 
air power he could keep the Japanese armies in eastern China 
from attacking his bases. The Fourteenth Air Force would be the 
artillery and heavy support of the tired Chinese infantry. 

Stilwell, on the other hand, held that air power was subordinate 
to the over-all pattern. No air bases, he insisted, could be held in 
eastern China for aerial operations against the Japanese without 
a powerful Chinese army. This army could be developed only by 
equipping it with supplies brought in over the Burma Road. 
Therefore the road should have top priority it was a prerequisite 
for staving off a Japanese attack against our air power. The great 
feud between Chennault and Stilwell rocked the entire American 
Army in China. You could be either a Stilwell man or a 
Chennault man; to be friendly with both meant walking a tight- 
rope. Both were dynamic, hard-hitting fighting men. Both were 
badly served by aides who, conscious of the feud, delighted in 
feeding the bitterness of one commander against the other with 
bits of gossip. Only Major General Frank Merrill of Merrill's 
Marauders, of all the top personalities in the theatre, sought to 
heal the breach. 

The bottleneck for all the conflicting ideas, strategies, and 
ambitions in China was the Hump. To understand the precise 
degree of happiness or unhappiness of any contender in the 
China sweepstakes, you had to know the tonnage he was currently 
receiving over the Hump. For two and a half years the only contact 
China had with America and the Allied world was the fantastic 
airline that crossed the Hump the spurs of the Himalayas from 
upper Assam to the plateau of Yunnan. Loads carried over the 
Hump began at the rate of 80 tons a month in the spring of 1942 ; 
at the end of the war they were moving at the rate of 80,000 tons 
a month. In the process the Hump drove men mad, killed them, 
sent them back to America wasted with tropical fevers and 
broken for the rest of their lives. Some of the boys called it the 
Skyway to Hell; it was certainly the most dangerous, terrifying, 
barbarous aerial transport run in the world. Unarmed cargo 
carriers crossed 500 miles, of unchartered mountains and jungles 
at 20,000 feet in spite of the Japanese air force, tropical monsoons, 
and Tibetan ice. In some months the Hump command lost more 
planes and personnel than the combat outfit, the Fourteenth Air 
Force, that it supplied. It chewed up four commanders before 
148 



I943> when the Air Transport Command finally found in 
Brigadier General Tom Hardin a man whose spectacular will 
could master its problems. 

The Hump was the key to all politics in China. Stilwell, 
Chennault, and the Chinese government locked in bitter dispute 
over how the tonnage should be distributed. During most of the 
period of the blockade, cargo averaged less than 5000 tons a 
month. Not till Hardin took over in the fall of 1943 did tonnage 
begin to climb; it passed 10,000 tons in December of '43 and 
reached 20,000 tons a month by the fall of 1944. Even 10,000 tons 
a month was nothing in the arithmetic of war. Two heavy raids 
by the Eighth Air Force out of England over Germany consumed 
more tonnage than was moved into the China area in an entire 
month. The three contenders for Hump tonnage Stilwell, 
Chennault, and the Chinese government were like men trapped 
and starved in a besieged city. The entire tonnage would have 
been insufficient for the needs of any one of the three; split among 
them, it came only to a tantalizing less-than-subsistence ration. 
The three appealed again and again to Washington against the 
iniquities of their superiors, subordinates, or colleagues; quarrels 
over tonnage distribution reached even to the White House. 
Chennault wanted as much material as possible to feed into the 
forward eastern China bases where his boys were slaughtering 
Japanese shipping. Stilwell wanted as much material as possible 
for the ground forces to reopen the Burma Road and revitalize the 
Chinese army. The government wanted material to keep the arsenals 
and the civilian economy functioning at minimum efficiency. 

The American government promised over and over again that 
Hump tonnage would be increased to meet Chinese demands. 
But strain as they might, die as gallantly as they did, the airmen 
of the Hump could never meet the insatiable voracity of the 
beleaguered garrisons beyond the mountains. Stilwell, who, as 
commander in chief of the entire theatre, bore the ultimate 
responsibility for distribution of the tonnage, was cursed from hell 
to breakfast by everyone whose demands were unsatisfied from 
the sweat-stained GI, who wanted beer and Wacs, to the Chinese 
general staff, which wanted copper and trucks. 

The original strategy for Asia had emerged from the Churchill- 
Roosevelt White House conference the week after Pearl Harbour. 
It was then the Allies' intention to hold the Singapore-Indies line 



against the Japanese and to send supplies over the Burma Road 
into China to revive her for battle. The collapse of the entire 
Allied front in South-East Asia in the spring of 1942 did not alter 
the basic continental strategy ; it merely delayed it. TheBurmaRoad 
had been severed by the Japanese, and it was necessary to reopen 
the road before the plan to aid China could begin to operate. 

When Chiang K'ai-shek was given the honorific title of com- 
mander in chief of the Allied high command for the China theatre, 
he asked for an American to serve as his chief of staff. The United 
States plucked Stilwell from command of an army corps in 
California and sent him off to Asia to serve as Chiang's chief of 
staff and to command all American forces in CBI. Caught in the 
disastrous Burma campaign, Stilwell marched out to India on 
foot; his plan for the next two years was conceived during this 
march and was elaborated in the summer of 1942. 

The first step was to be the training of the remnants of the 
Chinese army that had escaped to India from Burma. These 
troops would be the spearhead of the drive against the Burma 
barrier that the Japanese had raised on China's flank; they would 
pierce Burma in the north, at a point farthest from Japan's 
bases of supply. At Kunming, within China, another training 
centre for Chinese would be established ; here Americans would 
teach basic techniques and organize a Chinese force to strike at 
the Burma barrier from within. The two forces would act as 
pincers, one operating from Ledo in northern Assam, the other 
from the Salween in western China; when they met, the blockade 
of China would be cut. These two movements were geared to fit 
with ajonger-range plan. A third centre for training Chinese was 
to be established in eastern China, at Kweilin. This centre would 
not turn out so finished a product as the other two, for it would 
lack sufficient equipment and personnel, but it would indoctrinate 
the large infantry masses on the eastern front with American 
methods and practices. The three forces were styled respectively 
X, Y, and Z X-ray, Yoke, and Zebra, three words that became 
famous in the CBI. 

These forces were the building blocks of Stilwell's plan. He 
began training the Indian force in the summer of 1942. At 
Ramgarh, on the hot, dusty plain of central India, a training 
school was functioning by fall. Americans taught Chinese officers 
modern theory and gave them artillery and infantry practice; 
they taught Chinese enlisted men signal corps work and veterinary 
150 



work. In India, Chinese troops were for the first time fed as much 
as they could eat; they were paid in hard cash; they were given 
shoes, clothing, medical care, even vitamin pills. The Kunming 
school opened in early 1943; it was less lavish, for it could not 
feed the troops so well and could not supply them with artillery 
and significant items of equipment. The Kweilin school, which was 
not established till late in 1943, gave Chinese officers only a 
hurried exposure to American practices. 

The timing of the over-all strategy was very simple. When the 
X forces from Burma met the Y forces from China and the road 
was open, both these forces, supplemented by the Z group, would 
move towards the coast of eastern China. There they would meet 
the American Navy, driving in from the Pacific to open a port. 
Direct communications would then be re-established across the 
Pacific between America and China, and the Japanese Empire 
would be cut in two! Although all the Allies agreed on the 
general plan of campaign, they never could agree to set it in 
motion. Stilwell wanted to fight as quickly, as earnestly, as heartily 
as possible, with whatever was at hand. He wanted to strike at 
Burma in the fall of 1942; the British overruled him. He wanted 
to strike in the spring of 1943; he was overruled again. He 
persisted tirelessly in demanding that the blockade of China be 
broken, and finally in November of 1943 he won the assent of the 
combined chiefs of staff to start a real effort to retake Burma. 
According to the Cairo plan the British would land on the coast 
in southern Burma, the Chinese would push across the Salween 
front with the Yoke forces, and Stilwell would command the X-- 
ray forces, plunging through the jungles of northern Burma to the 
road junction. After the Cairo conference came the Allied meeting 
at Teheran, in December 1943, at which Stalin and the Americans 
insisted on a massive all-out effort across the English Channel to 
relieve the pressure on Russia. Stalin's attitude forced a reversal 
of the Cairo decision. If the Channel effort was to succeed, no 
landing boats could be spared for Burma, Stilwell was therefore 
designated to return to China and inform Chiang that the pro- 
posed British landings in southern Burma were cancelled. 

Chiang, who had been only mildly enthusiastic about the 
Burma campaign, though he had committed himself to it at 
Cairo, now declared that if there were to be no landing by the 
British, there would be no offensive by the Chinese from the 
Salween. But he conceded full authority to Stilwell to do as he 
15* 



wished with the three Chinese divisions that had been created 
in India to fight or not, as he chose, to go as far as he wanted 
in Burma, to set his own objectives and halt when he chose. 
Stilwell, convinced by now that nothing further could be gained 
by arguing or pleading in Delhi and Chungking, decided that he 
was fighting the Burma campaign alone, and he flew to northern 
Burma. There in January 1944 he launched the epic aoo-mile 
jungle campaign that was to end at Myitkyina. 

That campaign was as primitive and terrifying a war as any 
in the world. No quarter was given by the enemy, by the jungle, 
or by disease. Chinese soldiers, Americans of Merrill's Marauders, 
Kachin scouts, British troopers, killed Japanese and were killed 
by them for five months in the rain and heat of the swamps. 
Stilwell, dressed in dirty khaki, puffing cigarettes, wearing a 
floppy, old-fashioned campaign hat, was almost always within 
the sound of gunfire. From late December 1943 to May 1944 he 
was in the jungle almost constantly except for a few days of 
absence to handle necessary paper work in Delhi or Chungking. 
By April when the campaign to everybody's astonishment was 
nearing success, Chiang K'ai-shek consented to launch the trans- 
Salween offensive to complement the Burma drive. 

Some felt that Stilwell's proper position was at a desk in head- 
quarters, in the high diplomacy and the intricate administration 
of his vast theatre, but Stilwell felt otherwise. There was a war to 
be fought in Burma and no one to fight it but himself; no other 
man had the faith, will, or energy to drive untried Chinese 
divisions through the jungle to victory over Japanese veterans. 
Nothing anywhere else in the whole theatre was nearly so pressing, 
to him, as proving to the world that the Chinese could fight and 
conquer the Japanese nothing so significant to the war effort as 
the cracking of the blockade. 

In the history of the China war the Burma campaign stands by 
itself. This was the only offensive combat victory won by Chinese 
troops against the Japanese in eight years of campaigning. 

The average GI in China knew little about the struggle in the 
stratosphere of Army policy and cared less. He lived on bad food, 
in stinking, rat-infested Chinese hostels; he had to fight offbeat, 
mud, and disease. No one bothered to explain to him what the 
war was about. All he knew was what lay within the routine of 
his daily life and he hated it. The United States government was 

Fl i 



Uncle Chump from over the Hump; Chiang K'ai-shek was 
Chancre Jack; Sun Yat-sen was Sunset Sam; all Chinese were 
"slope-headed bastards," shortened in general conversation to 
the simple term "slopy." 

The main port of entry for all Americans into China was 
Kunming, capital of Yunnan. Before the war Kunming had been 
even more backward than Chungking. Its streets were narrow, 
its alleyways filthy; it was one of the national strongholds of the 
opium merchants. Almost up to the outbreak of war its prostitutes 
were penned in a street chained off at both ends; rich families 
bought girl slaves to serve in the household. The province was 
ruled by a curious character called Lung Yun, one of the most 
devious and shaky supports of the national government. Lung 
disliked Chiang K'ai-shek, but his power in the province was so 
strong that not until after V-J Day did Chiang dare attack him. 
Within two months of victory, however, the Generalissimo moved 
against the governor, occupied his capital in a daring coup, and 
brought Lung in disgrace to Chungking. 

The war had dumped into this medieval cesspool two elements 
out of the twentieth century in the shape of the finest refugee 
universities in China and the shrewdest banking and commercial 
speculators in the land. Both these elements were sheltered by the 
governor, the refugee universities because their liberal professors 
formed a front of restrained but vociferous opposition to Chiang's 
dictatorship, the speculators because their completely un- 
scrupulous black-marketeering added daily to the wealth of the 
city he ruled. By the time the American invasion of Kunming 
began, the prostitutes had been freed from their chained street, 
opium-smoking had gone underground, and the city had acquired 
a fagade of respectability. 

Americans usually arrived at the big airport south of the city. 
For two or three years this airport was one of the busiest on the 
globe It handled most of the Hump traffic, all Chinese civilian 
traffic, the Chinese National Airline's commercial carriers, the 
courier and mail services, and the combat missions of the 
Fourteenth Air Force. It was a gay place, lying just to the north of 
a long blue lake, in the lee of a towering, scar-sided mountain 
called Old Baldy. Old Baldy was the first China landmark 90 per 
cent of American soldiers saw as they came and the last they 
looked back on as they departed. You could lie on the grass beside 
the runways and look up in the sky and see at any moment every- 
154 



thing from 0-54*3 and 8-24*3 down to L-5's and L-4*s mixing in 
the congested traffic patterns of the upper air. The field was never 
silent for a moment from the roar of plane motors except when a 
monsoon shut it down completely. 

Within a few miles of the airport were scattered fifteen hostels 
for American personnel, each with five to ten buildings. Of the 
70,000 Americans in China probably half were stationed for a 
longer or shorter period in the Kunming hostels. These were run 
by the Chinese government, which established a special branch 
of supply specifically for the care and feeding of Americans. By 
Chinese standards the hostels were models of elegance. They were 
warm, they were dry, and the Chinese thought the food was 
excellent. The Chinese did their best to feed the Americans what 
they thought Americans liked eggs, chicken, pork, vegetables. 
To most of the Chinese mess attendants and the Chinese soldiers 
who guarded the buildings even the slops of the American tables 
were fit for kings. But the average American looked on his 
accommodations with a jaundiced eye. Six to eight men, crammed 
into one room, slept on double-tiered bunks; helmets, gas masks, 
foot lockers, barracks bags, tumbled about in the dust and 
confusion of the little cubicles. The Americans were nauseated 
by the filth, grease, and general putrefaction of the messes, which, 
however, were cleaner than anything the Chinese army had for 
itself; almost every American who ate at them came down with 
some variety of dysentery or diarrhoea during his stay in China. 
In the barracks Americans, yelling and cursing, vented their 
wrath on Chinese serving boys, until finally one American head- 
quarters solemnly posted a general order: "U.S. personnel will 
not beat, kick, or maltreat Chinese personnel under any circum- 
stances. Such is not the policy of this headquarters/' 

Before the war Kunming had been a resort town. It was 6000 
feet high ; the climate was delightfully clear through most of the 
year, and the intoxicating sun and sky seemed always to evoke a 
gay light-headedness. The American soldiers worked during 
daylight hours and saw the city usually after dark. Once or twice 
a week, or as often as they could get a pass, enlisted men would 
pour into town in search of wine, women, and entertainment, 
and Chinese touts and racketeers would pluck them clean. 
Restaurants served buffalo steak at $5.00 a head; whisky was 
black-marketed at $100 a bottle and up. Fortunate officers made 
alliances with English-speaking Chinese college students, with 

155 



nurses, with Red Cross girls. The enlisted men, all of whom 
seemed bent on finding out personally whether it was true what 
they said about Chinese women, had to be satisfied with com- 
mercialized sex or do without. Venereal disease rates soared. 
Entertainment for Americans in Kunming consisted of going to 
the movies, which were always old and usually bad, or playing 
poker for stakes that sometimes ran into thousands of dollars, or 
getting drunk. Some of the air force squadrons could get enough 
machinery together to make small distilleries and produce .a bad 
potage out of brown sugar, but most of the men stuck to the tried- 
and-tested Chinese chin pao juices mao tai, pai kar, yellow wine, 
potato alcohol. The army could not spare its precious Hump 
tonnage to haul beer, liquor, or normal PX supplies over the 
mountains. USO troupes were likewise few and far between; 
the big names seldom came to China. When the big names did 
come, with a few exceptions like the popular Jinx Falkenburg- 
Pat O'Brien troupe, they left a foul taste in the mouth of all who 
had to deal with them. 

If life was rugged in Kunming, it was worse in the dozens of 
outposts that were gradually set down all through the land. The 
Y and Z forces split up their men and officers into teams of four 
or five who were scattered over all the southern fronts. The men 
lived with Chinese regimental, divisional, army headquarters in 
the field. Each American team consisted of a radio set, a jeep, a 
few enlisted men, one or two officers, and a few cases of de- 
hydrated rations; each team had a Chinese interpreter and 
usually a Chinese cook. They lived in deserted farmhouses, 
temples, paddy fields, jungle hammocks. They trudged through 
the dust with the Chinese, crawled over mud-slick mountain 
trails, slapped at mosquitoes, learned to eat rice and like it, grew 
either to hate or to love one another. Some of these men came to 
know the Chinese to whom they were assigned and to cherish a 
real affection for them; most of them did not. 

The men of the air force lived much better in the field than they 
did at Kunming. Chennault believed in delegating responsibility 
and giving his deputies free rein. He placed the eastern China 
operations in the hands of one of the youngest Americans ever to 
be made a general, Clinton (" Casey") Vincent, only twenty- 
nine, and he assigned to Vincent, as his deputy, Colonel David 
("Tex") Hill, also twenty-nine; to these two he turned over the 
offensive. The young men, both accomplished combat pilots, 
156 



made the forward echelon of the Fourteenth Air Force a name to 
conjure with. From their eastern China bases they sank over half 
a million tons of Japanese shipping and drove the Japanese out 
of the skies of China south of the Yangtze. 

The forward echelon had its headquarters in Kweilin, the most 
lovable and abandoned city in the Orient. Here, as in Kunming, 
a group of Chinese liberals took shelter under war-lord provincial- 
ism to needle the Central Government of Chiang K'ai-shek. For 
intellectual Americans there was always good conversation; for 
Americans of a more earthy sort there were women. Kweilin 
swarmed with tarts of every degree, fat, thin, stocky, fragile, 
sturdy. The famous prostitutes of Hongkong had fled inland after 
the Japanese occupied their home town, and most of them came 
to Kweilin to re-establish business ; they were silken-clad girls with 
ivory bodies and complete devotion to their art. The town had 
two red-light districts ; one was Slit Alley, north of the bridge, off 
limit to American personnel because of the VD rate, and the 
other was the main street itself, where the girls thronged every 
evening, two and three deep, in a symphony of squeals, giggles, 
laughter, and general jollity . There was no sense of shame, in the 
orthodox sense, anywhere in the fabulous town. The hotels were 
full of women waiting for Americans; they liked the Americans 
with honest enthusiasm; they learned American slang and 
American anatomical terms and spoke all the harsh words in 
silver, flutelike tones that robbed them of all dirtiness. The harlots, 
of course, were infiltrated through and through with Japanese 
agents, and the American counter-intelligence corps were petu- 
lantly impotent to stop the leakage of information from the 
main combat base of the Fourteenth Air Force to the enemy. 

The one abiding sentiment that almost all American enlisted 
personnel and most of the officers shared was contempt and 
dislike for China. Most Americans were attached to the air corps, 
the service of supply, or training units. They saw little of the 
Chinese soldier in the field; no more than a few hundred 
Americans in China had seen Chinese troops march helplessly 
against enemy positions and die on their feet. Few of them knew 
or cared how the Chinese peasant lived ; they saw only the Chinese 
government, the corrupt officials, the black marketeers. They 
believed that all Chinese were corrupt, inefficient, and unreliable. 
Americans saw the black market filled with goods that bore U.S. 



Army insignia, and they; knew that such goods could be boot- 
legged onto the commercial market only from supplies that other 
Americans had flown across the Hump at the risk of their lives. 
With total lack of discrimination they believed that the people 
were as their government. They saw the squalor, filth, and ignor- 
ance of the Chinese peasant and peasant soldier; the sight inspired 
them not with compassion or pity but with loathing and revulsion. 
Americans lived in a wasteland of loneliness and ignorance them- 
selves; they were 15,000 miles from home; and they ascribed all 
their misery to the Chinese among whom they dwelt. 

The GFs and their officers were afloat in a sea of foggy rumours ; 
they told each other stories that grew with monstrous exaggeration 
at each retelling. They literally believed that the Chinese were 
hiding thousands of planes in the hills, though the Chinese air 
force had only a few hundred shabby, useless planes laid up for 
lack of parts and gasoline. They believed that the Chinese had 
stored literally millions of barrels of oil and gasoline in the north 
for war against the Communists. They believed in all seriousness 
that everything that was given to the Chinese government was 
sold by it to commercial speculators for gold. Almost every 
American soldier knew a few Chinese whom he liked; most of 
them loved Chinese children; they liked to joke with the house- 
boys; the officers enjoyed the sincere friendship they found in 
cultivated Chinese homes. But each one would exempt the few 
Chinese he knew from the circle of his contempt and curse the 
rest with unflagging fervour and eloquence. The feeling was bone- 
deep and bitter. During the great retreat in 1944, when all the 
Fourteenth Air Force bases in East China were falling before the 
Japanese drive, one officer was heard to say, "God, I'd just like 
to kill one slopy before I get out of here." 

The uneducated American attitude was a major tragedy in a 
land of many tragedies. No one attempted to explain the war to 
the American soldier, to teach him how and why the Chinese 
people were as they were. High diplomacy made it impossible 
to tell the American soldier that the Chinese people loathed 
corruption even more intensely, because it affected them more 
bitterly. No one, finally, tried to distinguish between the Chinese 
people, who were profoundly good, and the Chinese government, 
which was profoundly bad. One evening at the close of the Burma 
campaign a number of correspondents were invited to talk to a 
group of wounded and sick Americans in an army hospital at 
158 



Myitkyina. The session lasted almost two hours. When it was 
over, one of the wounded men walking out of the back of the hall 
said, " You know, that's the first time I ever heard anybody say 
a good word about the Chinese. " 



CHAPTER II 

THE HONAN FAMINE 

JLAMINE AND FLOOD are China's sorrow. From time out 
of mind Chinese chronicles have recorded these recurrent disasters 
with the beating, persistent note of doom. Always in their 
chronicles Chinese historians have judged the great dynasties of 
the past by their ability to meet and master such tragic emer- 
gencies. In the concluding years of the war against Japan such 
a famine ravaged the north and tested the government of Chiang 
K'ai-shek. The story of the Honan famine rolled into Chungking 
like tumbleweed blown by the wind. You clutched at facts, and 
they dissolved into fragments of gossip: " I heard from a man who 
was there . . ." " I saw in a letter from Loyang . . ." " In Sian they 
say that ..." But there was no substance merely that ominous 
tone of Chinese conversation that runs before disaster like dark- 
ness before a thundercloud. In February 1943 the Ta Kung Poo, 
the most independent Chinese paper in Chungking, published 
the first real report of the almost unendurable suffering of the 
people of Honan under one of the most terrible famines in Chinese 
history. The government retaliated by suppressing the Ta Kung 
Pao for three days. 

The suppression of the Ta Kung Pao acted like a barb on the 
foreign press. I decided to go to Honan; Harrison Forman of the 
London Times came to the same decision at the same time. Five 
days after the plane lifted us from the fog-bound airport of 
Chungking we found ourselves, in the terrible cold dawn of North 
China, at the stump of the railway line that leads from Sian to 
Honan. Dozens of little food shops clustered about the end of the 
line, each radiating the fragrance of frying food, each made 
conspicuous in the dark by the blue flames that spat fitfully into 
the night from the box bellows of the charcoal fire. 

Dawn came slowly, like the gradual illumination of a stage in 
the darkness. Peasants, sprawled about the station for acres, 

'59 



were waiting for the next train to take them away to the west 
and food. Most of them had come on trains that sneaked by the 
Japanese guns in the dark. Flatcars, boxcars, old coaches, were 
stuffed with people; tight huddles braced themselves on the roofs. 
It was freezing cold, and as the trains hurtled through the danger 
zone, the fingers of those who were clinging to the car roofs 
became numb; the weak fell under the steel wheels of the trains, 
and as we retraced their route later in the day, we saw their 
torn and bleeding bodies lying by the roadbed. But most of the 
peasants were coming under their own power, by foot, by cart, 
by wheelbarrow. This station was the great exit to the province, 
a narrow spout between the Japanese to the north and the 
mountains to the south, and here the refugees clustered till they 
could move on to relief facilities in the west. 

A great stink suffusfcd the mob. Dry sweat, urine, common 
human filth, scented the morning. The peasants shivered in 
pulsing reaction to the cold, and their grey and blue rags fluttered 
and quivered in the wind. Here and there the smeared red rem- 
nant of a bridal costume on a wrinkled woman broke the 
monotony of colour; sometimes a squawling baby drew attention 
to its filthy scarlet wrapping. Steaming breath rose in vaporous 
clouds; noses trickled water; eyes were dark wounds in frigid 
faces. Feet were swathed in dirty rags, and heads covered with 
discoloured, filthy towels. 

For the next 50 miles there was no regular rail service. The 
tracks were intact across this stretch, and handcars could speed 
across by day, but enemy guns commanded the route. To the 
north, Japanese-held mountains marked out the northern bank 
of the Yellow River; to the south, the high, jagged peaks of the 
famous Flower Mountains of southern Shensi dug into the sky. 
The gap between, flat as a threshing floor, with the railway 
running through it, was some 30 or 40 miles east to west, and the 
grey, sunless canopy of clouds made it unspeakably barren. 
Across the flat plain were strung beads of bunched figures. The 
endless procession rose beyond the horizon, wound across the 
paths between the fields, passed silently into the greyness behind. 
A Chinese crowd is usually a chattering carnival, as mobile as 
quicksilver and rippling with laughter and curses. But grief and 
frost had congealed these men to a soundless hush. They lifted 
one foot after another, mechanically and without thought, and 
like animals they plodded on into the distance. In far-distant 
1 60 



times primitive men may have migrated thus from prehistoric 
lands of cold and hunger to lands of food and warmth. 

The little knots of people who studded the paths repeated the 
same patterns. A dozen times an hour some father pushed a wheel- 
barrow past, the mother hauling at it in front with a rope, the 
baby on the padding sometimes silent, sometimes crying; or the 
woman of the family sat sidesaddle on her mule with her baby in 
her arms, like an unhappy madonna, while the father belaboured 
the rear of the mule with a staff. Old women hobbled along on 
bound feet, stumbled and fell; no one picked them up. Other 
old women rode pickaback on the strong shoulders of their sons, 
staring through coal-black eyes at the hostile sky. Young men, 
walking alone, strode at quicker pace, with all their possessions 
in a kerchief over their shoulder. Small mounds of rags by the 
roadside marked where the weak had collapsed ; sometimes a few 
members of a family stood staring at a body in silent perplexity. 
The children leaned on their staffs like old men; some carried 
bundles as large as themselves ; others were dream-walkers whose 
unseeing eyes were a thousand years old with suffering. Behind 
them all, from the land of famine a cold wind blew, sending the 
dust chasing them over the yellow plain. The march had been 
going on for weeks; it was to continue for weeks more. 

Five hours brought us to the point where regular rail traffic 
began again. The railway administration had made ready a 
private car to take us to Loyang, the provincial capital, and by 
midmorning we were there. The bishop of the Loyang Catholic 
mission was a great-hearted American, Thomas Megan of Eldora, 
Iowa, a man reported to know more about the famine than any- 
one else in the north. Megan accepted us kindly and gave us 
warm food, and when we rode forth two days later, he accom- 
panied us. Our objective was the town of Chengchow, a three 
days' journey one by truck, then two by horse. 

Each large town along the way had at least one restaurant open 
for those whose purses were still full. Once we ordered a meal in 
such a restaurant, but for us the spicy food was tasteless. Hungry 
people, standing about the open kitchen, inhaled the smell with 
shuddering greed; their eyes traced each steaming morsel from 
bowl to lips and back. When we walked down the street, children 
followed crying, "K'o lien, k'o lien (mercy, mercy). " If we pulled 
peanuts or dried dates from our pockets, tiny ragamuffins 
whipped by to snatch them from our fingers. The tear-stained 

161 



faces, smudgy and forlorn in the cold, shamed us. Chinese children 
are beautiful in health; their hair glows then with the gloss of 
fine natural oil, and their almond eyes sparkle. But these shrunken 
scarecrows had pus-filled slits where eyes should be; malnutrition 
had made their hair dry and brittle; hunger had bloated their 
bellies; weather had chapped their skins. Their voices had 
withered into a thin whine that called only for food. 

The smaller villages were even worse than the market towns. 
The silence was frightening. People fled the impersonal cruelty 
of hunger as if a barbarian army were upon them. The villages 
echoed with emptiness; streets were deserted, compost piles 
untended waiting for spring, doors and windows boarded up. 
The abandoned houses amplified the slightest sound. A baby 
crying in a hidden room in a village sounded louder than the 
pounding of our horses' hooves. Two lone women quarrelled in 
a haunted street, and their shrieking rang louder than the hurly- 
burly of a village fair. 

There were corpses on the road. A girl no more than seventeen, 
slim and pretty, lay on the damp earth, her lips blue with death; 
her eyes were open, and the rain fell on them. People chipped at 
bark, pounded it by the roadside for food ; vendors sold leaves at 
a dollar a bundle. A dog digging at a mound was exposing a 
human body. Ghostlike men were skimming the stagnant pools 
to eat the green slime of the waters. We whipped our horses to 
the quickest possible pace in the effort to make Chengchow by 
evening of the third day. As dusk closed, snow began to fall, 
light and powdery. Once our horses stumbled in a field and 
sheered off violently from two people lying side by side in the 
night, sobbing aloud in their desolation. By the time we entered 
the city, the snow was heavy enough to muffle the thudding of our 
horses' hooves. 

When we awoke in the morning, the city was a white sepulchre 
peopled with grey ghosts. Death ruled Chengchow, for the famine 
centred there. Before the war it had held 120,000 people; now 
it had less than 40,000. The city had been bombed, shelled, and 
occupied by the Japanese, so that it had the half-destroyed air 
of all battlefront cities. Rubble was stacked along the gutters, and 
the great buildings, roofless, were open to the sky. Over the rubble 
and ruins the snow spread a mantle that deadened every sound. 
We stood at the head of the main street, looked down the deserted 
way for all its length and saw nothing. Occasionally someone in 
162 



fluttering, wind-blown rags would totter out of a doorway. Those 
who noticed us clustered round ; spreading their hands in suppli- 
cation, they cried " K'o lien^ k'o lien" till our ears rang with it. 

The quick and the dead confused us. Down a side street a man 
trundled a wheelbarrow with a figure lying passively across it. 
The inert form was dressed in blue rags, the naked feet covered 
with goose-pimples; it stirred and quivered and seemed alive, 
but the bobbing of the head only reflected the roughness of the 
road. Other people were lying in the gutters ; we shook one or two 
to make sure they were dead, and when one man moved slightly, 
we thrust a large bill into his hand. His numb fingers closed about 
the money, but it was only a reflex action; they unbent slowly, 
and the bill trembled in his open palm. Another moaned as he 
lay, and we shook him to try to make him get up. Then we turned 
to a woman in rags who was clutching a baby; we begged her to 
help us move the man to the refugee compound, and we gave her 
a bill to strengthen our plea. As she bent, the baby fell from her 
arms into the snow and cried pitifully. We saw them off, all three, 
towards the compound, and the Catholic father who was escort- 
ing us said, "At least let them die like human beings." 

We heard the story of the people from the Protestant mis- 
sionaries and the Catholic fathers who jointly controlled Ameri- 
can relief moneys. The strong had fled earlier; all who were left 
now were the old, the weak, and the few hardy characters who 
were staying to guard the spring wheat that would soon be in 
full growth. The people were slicing bark from elm trees, grinding 
it to eat as food. Some were tearing up the roots of the new wheat; 
in other villages people were living on pounded peanut husks or 
refuse. Refugees on the road had been seen madly cramming 
soil into their mouths to fill their bellies, and the missionary 
hospitals were stuffed with people suffering from terrible intes- 
tinal obstructions due to the filth they were eating. 

Letters of the Protestant missionaries recorded the early stages 
of the crisis,* when the trek started in the fall. Mobs of hungry 
peasants, their women and children with them, had forced their 
way into wealthy homes and stripped them of anything that could 
be carried off. They had rushed into irrigated grain fields to 
seize the standing crops. In some cases hunger had burned out 
the most basic human emotions; two maddened parents had tied 
six children to trees so they could not follow them as they left 
in search of food. When a group of mother, baby, and two older 

163 



children became tired from the long hunt for food, the mother, 
sitting down to nurse the infant, sent the older children on to look 
for food at the next village; when they returned, the baby was 
still sucking at the breast of the dead mother. In a fit of frenzy 
the parents of two little children had murdered them rather than 
hear them beg for something to eat. Some families sold all they 
had for one last big meal, then committed suicide. Armed assaults 
and robberies were epidemic all through the countryside. The 
missionaries did what they could to pick up waifs along the road, 
but they had to do it by stealth, for a report that the missionaries 
were caring for starving children would have overwhelmed them 
at once with orphans abandoned on their doorsteps. 

By spring, when we arrived, the more vigorous, disturbing 
elements had fled to the west, where there was food. Those who 
remained were wasting in hopelessness with a minimum of 
violence. The missionaries now reported something worse 
cannibalism. A doctor told us of a woman caught boiling her 
baby; she was not molested, because she insisted that the child 
had died before she started to cook it. Another woman had been 
caught cutting off the legs of her dead husband for meat; this, 
too, was justified on the ground that the man was already dead. 
In the mountain districts there were uglier tales of refugees 
caught on lonely roads and killed for their flesh. How much of 
this was just gruesome legend and how much truth we could not 
judge. But we heard the same tales too frequently, in too widely 
scattered places, to ignore the fact that in Honan human beings 
were eating their own kind. 

Honan is a fertile province. Before the war, it supported some 
30,000,000 people, who farmed the rich loess soil exhaustively 
and pressed upon it to the Malthusian limit. The cash crop was 
spring wheat, which the peasants sowed in late autumn and har- 
vested in mid-May; their secondary crops were millet and corn, 
which were sown immediately after the wheat harvest and 
gathered in by fall. In 1940 and '41 the crops had been poor, and 
the normal carry-over disappeared; in 1942 the spring wheat 
failed for lack of rain. The government took its usual share of the 
spring wheat in taxes; in that season of shortage it meant almost 
the whole crop. Blithely the provincial authorities assured them- 
selves that rain would certainly fall and give the peasants enough 
millet and corn to fill thcijr hungry bellies. But no rain fell. All 
164 



through the summer of '42 the skies were closed and the grain 
withered on the stalk; by autumn the province was destitute. 

The West, with a vast system of modern communications and 
the economy of the world to draw on, has forgotten for decades 
what famine means. But in the Orient, where hundreds of millions 
still rely on whatever can be grown within a day's walk of their 
birthplace for their sustenance, famine is still one of the recurring 
threats to life. There are only two ways to deal with famine, both 
of them simple, but both requiring major decision and swift execu- 
tion. One is to move grain into the stricken areas in bulk and as 
swiftly as possible; the other is to move people out of the stricken 
areas in bulk and as swiftly as possible. No great wisdom is re- 
quired to foresee a famine; if there is no rain, there will be no 
crop, and if no crop grows, people will die. 

The Chinese government failed to foresee the famine; when it 
came, it failed to act until too late. As early as October, reports 
of the situation were arriving in Chungking. In November two 
government inspectors visited Honan, travelled the main motor 
roads, and returned to say that the crisis was desperate and some- 
thing must be done immediately. The Central Government 
dismissed the matter by appropriating $200,000,000 paper 
money for famine relief and sending a mandate to provincial 
authorities to remit taxes. The banks in Chungking loaded the 
bales of paper currency on trucks and sent a convoy northward 
bearing paper, not food, to the stricken. It would indeed have 
been hopeless to try to move heavy tonnages of grain from central 
China over the broken, mountainous communications to northern 
China and Honan. Yet just across the provincial border from 
Honan was the province of Shensi, whose grain stores were more 
than ample. A vigorous government would have ordered grain 
from Shensi into neighbouring Honan immediately in order to 
avert disaster. But cracking down on Shensi in favour of Honan 
would have upset the delicate balance of power the government 
found so essential to its functioning. Grain might also have been 
moved to Honan from Hupeh, but the war area commander in 
Hupeh would not permit it. 

The relief money sent to Honan arrived gradually. By the time 
we got there in March only $80,000,000 out of the $200,000,000 
appropriated had reached the provincial government. Even this 
money was badly managed. It was left to lie in provincial bank 
accounts, drawing interest, while government officials debated 

165 



and bickered as to how it might best be used. In some places, 
when money was distributed to starving farmsteads, the amount 
of current taxes the peasants owed was deducted by local authori- 
ties from the sums they received; even the national banks took 
a cut of the relief funds as profit. The Central Government had 
sent relief money in denominations of $ i oo Chinese currency 
small enough, since a pound of wheat was selling at $16.00 to 
$18.00 But the local hoarders refused to sell their grain for notes 
of large denomination; to buy grain the peasants had to change 
their money for five- and ten-dollar bills. And this they had to do 
through the national banks, which discounted their own cur- 
rency by 1 7 per cent in changing large bills for small bills. What 
the people of Hqnan wanted was food. Up to March the govern- 
ment had provided some 10,000 sacks of rice and 20,000 sacks of 
mixed grain. This averaged almost a pound apiece for 10,000,000 
people who had been starving since autumn. 

Stupidity and inefficiency marked the relief effort. But the 
grisly tragedy was compounded even further by the actions of 
the constituted local authorities. The peasants, as we saw them, 
were dying. They were dying on the roads, in the mountains, 
by the railway stations, in their mud huts, in the fields. And as 
they died, the government continued to wring from them the 
last possible ounce of tax. The money tax the peasant had to pay 
on his land was a trivial matter; the basic tax exacted from him 
was the food tax, a percentage of all the grain he raised, and 
despite the fine-sounding resolution of remittance in Chung- 
king, the tax was being extorted from him by every device the 
army and provincial authorities could dream up. The govern- 
ment in county after county was demanding of the peasant more 
actual poundage of grain than he had raised on his acres. No 
excuses were allowed; peasants who were eating elm bark and 
dried leaves had to haul their last sack of seed grain to the tax 
collector's office. Peasants who were so weak they could barely 
walk had to collect fodder for the army's horses, fodder that was 
more nourishing than the filth they were cramming into their 
own mouths. Peasants who could not pay were forced to the wall ; 
they sold their cattle, their furniture, and even their land to 
raise money to buy grain to meet the tax quotas. One of the most 
macabre touches of all was the flurry of land speculation. Mer- 
chants from Sian and Chengchow, small government officials, 
army officers, and rich landlords who still had food were engaged 
166 



in purchasing the peasants' ancejstral acres at criminally low 
figures. Concentration and dispossession were proceeding hand 
in hand, in direct proportion to the intensity of hunger. 

Government officials did not live lavishly by our standards, 
but their tables steamed with hot wheat buns and fresh meat. 
The lowliest party machine hack of the Kuomintang received 
out of the tax quotas an average of 4 pounds of wheat a day. 
After we had returned to tell the story in Chungking, all this was 
denied; the wise men told us how credulous foreigners in China 
usually were, and even the governor of the province of Honan 
said we were exaggerating as we visited him in his comfortable 
office. "Why," said he, "only the wealthy had to pay in full. 
From the poor we collected no more than the land produced." 
The actual physical brutality and indignity with which the tax 
was collected was sickening, but the corruption that went hand 
in hand with its collection was worse. The army officers and 
local officials who collected the grain regarded their right to tax 
as a supplement to their salary, a franchise to loot. Each month, 
after the allotments had been made to the functionaries, the sur- 
plus grain would be divided up by senior officers and placed on 
the market for sale for their private pockets. Such bootleg tax 
grain, indeed, was the chief source of the food that reached mar- 
ket, and the racketeers who controlled it ran the price up to the 
sky. Even American relief authorities, operating with American 
money, were forced to beg army officers for the right to buy their 
private hoards for distribution back to the very peasantry from 
whom the grain had been extorted. The officers who sold it made 
no concessions for humanity's sake ; at the rate of exchange then 
current and with the famine prices in Honan, relief money that 
could buy 60 bushels of wheat in America could buy only one 
bushel of wheat in China. 

These facts were gathered not from print but from the lips of 
the peasants. We had tried to talk to some of the people, and one 
evening when we were staying at an army headquarters, a group 
of middle-aged men came to call, saying that they represented 
the community. They had drawn up a bill of particulars and a 
report that they wanted us to take to Chungking. They presented 
us with two copies. The report said that of the 150,000 people 
in the county 110,000 had absolutely nothing to eat; about 700 
were dying daily, and another 700 were taking to the road. The 
government had sent in 10,000 pounds of bran for the relief of the 

167 



starving since the famine began. We chatted with the leader of 
the group. Did he own land? Yes, twenty mou. (i mou is one-sixth 
of an acre.) How much had he harvested? Fifteen pounds of 
grain per mou. What had the tax been? Thirteen pounds per mou. 

The commanding general, a number of officers, and some 
soldiers were listening attentively. The general, who suddenly 
became furious, called the man aside; we could hear him berat- 
ing the peasant in a loud whisper. The peasant turned back to us 
and said he had made a mistake; the tax, after all, had been only 
5 pounds per mou. The general demanded that we hand back 
the written reports the peasants had given us ; we gave one copy 
back, but the general insisted that both must be returned. We 
looked around us, and in the dim light we could see the old man 
trembling. We knew that after we left, all our sins would be 
visited on him, and we were frightened ourselves; we handed 
in the reports. 

Thereafter, as much as possible, we tried to talk to the people 
without any officials present. Always, everywhere, the same plea 
was repeated in the same words: Stop the taxes; we can suffer 
the famine, but we cannot bear the taxes; we can live on bark 
and peanut shells, if they will only stop the taxes. We spoke to a 
district officer; he had been ordered to produce 400,000 pounds 
of grain as his tax quota for the year. But the total harvest in his 
district had come to only 350,000 pounds. Where was he to get 
the rest? We found a man in a lonesome village eating a horrid 
concoction of buckwheat chaff, leaves, and elm bark. He had 
raised 500 pounds of wheat on his own land last year; the govern- 
ment had taken it all but decided it was insufficient, so he had 
sold his ox and his ass to make up the deficit. 

Journeying through the land by horseback for two weeks, we 
talked each day with peasants and small officials. The snow that 
fell during our journey soaked the fields, and the spring wheat of 
the next season stood tall and green. It mocked the peasants 
with promise of food two months in the future. "It is fine, yes," 
said an old man, "but who knows whether we will be alive to 
eat it?" 

I still have the menu of the banquet that was served by the 
government officials of Chengchow the night before our depar- 
ture. They served us sliced lotus, peppered chicken, beef, and 
water chestnut. We had spring rolls, hot wheat buns, rice, bean 
curd, and fish. We had two soups and three cakes with sugar 
168 



frosting. It was one of the finest and most sickening banquets I 
ever ate. 

We made our estimates by rough rule of thumb on the basis of 
our interviews and the figures we thought most reliable. Of the 
30,000,000 people of Honan, probably two or three million had 
fled the province, and another two or three million had died of 
hunger and disease. It was the greatest disaster of the war in 
China, one of the greatest famines in the world. Bitter of heart, 
we returned to Chungking. The bland equanimity of the capital 
was unruffled ; officially the taxes had been remitted, despite the 
testimony of the peasants to the contrary. The dead bodies were 
lies; the dogs digging cadavers from the loess were figments of 
our imagination. We knew that there was a fury, as cold and 
relentless as death itself, in the bosom of the peasants of Honan, 
that their loyalty had been hollowed to nothingness by the 
extortion of their government. But no one in Chungking would 
believe that for another year until the Japanese wrote the historic 
finish to the entire episode. 

In the spring of 1944 the Japanese decided to clean out the 
province of Honan in preparation for their even greater push in 
the south. The nominal defender of the Chinese war area in 
Honan was a gimlet-eyed character called Chiang Ting-wen. 
Chiang had been commander of Honan for several years. One 
of his first measures on assuming command was an attempt to 
strengthen Loyang, his walled capital, by digging a moat about 
it; it was his idea of good strategy. He ako arrested every Com- 
munist or suspected Communist he could find in the area. His 
greatest renown in the province was for his ability to terrify the 
civilian authorities of the districts his troops occupied. He had 
browbeaten the governor of Honan into cowering co-operation 
in the programme that stripped the peasants of their last reserves 
of grain. The real commander of the Honan area was Chiang 
Ting-wen's nominal deputy, General Tang En-po. Tang was far 
superior to his chief in troops and in influence. A leader in the 
Whampoa clique, he was a favourite of the Generalissimo's. He 
was a relatively pleasant man, gracious, good-humoured, ener- 
getic, and had done his best to mitigate the curse of the famine 
without upsetting the army system in which he was enmeshed. 
But since he was the outstanding power in Honan, the peasants 
and civilians accepted him rather than Chiang Ting-wen as the 

169 



true author of their ills, and they mouthed deep and bitter 
curses. "Honan has two sorrows," they quipped, "the Yellow 
River and Tang En-po." Between them Tang and Chiang 
Ting-wen commanded half a million men. 

The Japanese used an estimated 60,000 men in their drive. 
They struck in mid-April and cut through the Chinese lines the 
way a butcher knife cuts through butter. Tang En-po was away 
from his field headquarters at the time of attack; he never did 
get back to direct the campaign. Japanese units of 500 men seized 
passes held by thousands of Chinese one headquarters staff was 
surprised by the enemy while it was playing basketball in the sun. 
The troops who had ravaged the peasants in the year of famine 
were themselves sick and lacking in morale after years of inaction; 
they were ill-trained, their guns faulty, their ammunition 
short. Under attack they broke and ran. The Chinese command 
dissolved; it could not control the situation. The Chinese Twelfth 
and Thirteenth Armies turned and fought one another. At 
Loyang, the capital of the war area, panic seized the staff. Some 
700 or 800 military trucks, in varying stages of decay, were at the 
disposal of the army in Honan. About a hundred were used for 
rushing reinforcements to shore up the crumbling front; the rest 
were used by officers to evacuate private property. These officers, 
with their wives and children and relatives, had all lived off the 
land; now their baggage, household furniture, and fortunes were 
loaded on military trucks and rushed to the safety of Sian in the 
rear. To supplement the supply system both for the front and for 
its own need, the army began to seize the peasants' oxen. Honan 
is wheat country, and the peasants' chief capital is the plough 
ox. The seizure of oxen for military ox trains was unbearable. 

The peasants had waited long for this moment. They had 
suffered through too many months of famine and merciless 
military extortion. Now they turned, arming themselves with 
birdguns, knives, and pitchforks. They began by disarming indi- 
vidual soldiers and ended by disarming entire companies. It was 
estimated that 50,000 Chinese soldiers were disarmed by their 
own countrymen during the few weeks of the campaign. It would 
have been miraculous if the Chinese armies had held for three 
months; with the countryside in a state of armed rebellion there 
was no hope at all for resistance. Within three weeks the Japanese 
had seized all their objectives; the railway to the south lay in 
their hands, and a Chinese army of 300,000 men had ceased to exist. 
170 



CHAPTER I 2 

DISASTER IN THE EAST 

JNo DEVICE OF censorship could keep news of the Honan 
catastrophe from seeping through to Chungking it was the 
first time since the outbreak of the war that the Chinese people 
had turned and fought against their own colours. Hundreds of 
thousands of traitors at the front had gone over to the enemy out 
of exhaustion and hunger, and millions of Chinese in occupied 
areas were serving the Japanese either actively or passively; but 
never before had the unorganized peasants turned in cold blood 
against their national troops while they were fighting the enemy. 
Chungking seethed with the news. T. V. Soong, unheeded and 
unsought, sat in his suburban mansion in bitterness and chanted 
Cassandra-like prophecies of doom; Sun Fo denounced the entire 
regime; the Communists could scarcely conceal their contempt 
of the government. Even Chiang K'ai-shek, insulated within his 
court of flattery, became infected with a sense of danger. But 
before Chungking had had time to digest the lessons of humilia- 
tion in Honan, the Japanese were on the move again, in their 
greatest campaign in six years. 

The coastline of East China curves like a semicircle whose 
diameter is the Yangtze River and whose centre is the city of 
Hankow. From Hankow a railway line, pointing like an arrow 
almost due south, cuts the flatlands and the coast off from the 
highlands and Chungking. The Japanese meant to drive down 
this rail line and hack China in two. Now, with the perspective 
of time, we can see the Japanese drive as a last futile effort to 
ward off doom. But in 1 944 years of bitter fighting seemed to 
stretch ahead. An effort so huge and massive seemed to indicate 
untapped wells of strength in the Japanese Empire; the campaign 
seemed an effort to frustrate all Allied strategy. The Japanese 
meant to gain numerous objectives by their summer drive. 

First, they intended to wipe out American air power on the 
continent. The forward bases of the Fourteenth Air Force had 
been the nesting place of American fighters and bombers that 
were wrecking Japan's sea commerce. Their sea sweeps, by the 
end of the campaign, had destroyed or damaged a million tons 



of enemy shipping a fifth of Japan's prewar merchant marine. 
These bases were strung out along the railway lines and highways 
that Japan meant to conquer. By destroying the immediate 
threat of the Fourteenth Air Force, the Japanese would also be 
eliminating the greater long-range menace of the B-ag's. The 
early 6-29 strikes from deep in West China had given the 
Japanese a foretaste of disaster. In the east the Americans were 
planning to lengthen the runways of the forward bases of the 
Fourteenth to handle the huge Superfortresses. The 29*5 would 
be able to strike even deeper into Japan from the enlarged bases 
and to ravage its heartland. The Japanese were unaware that at 
the moment they were planning their campaign against the East 
China bases, American planners were tooling up for the assault 
on Saipan, to place the bombers even closer to Honshu. 

Second, the Japanese sought to frustrate American ground 
strategy. Stilwell had been driving with great success towards the 
ending of the blockade in Burma. He meant to move from central 
China to the coast to meet the American Navy sometime in 1945 
and cut the Japanese Empire in two. By driving a transcontinental 
corridor down the railway line from north to south the Japanese 
hoped to seal the mountainous west, which Stilwell was approach- 
ing, from contact with the coast where Nimitz wished to land. 

Third, success in the drive would be of tremendous propa- 
ganda value. At least on the map the Japanese would then have 
overland communications from Manchuria in the north all the 
way down the centre of China to Indo-China and direct contact 
with Singapore and the South Seas. With all the data available 
now it is impossible to think that the Japanese staff could have 
been so stupid as to think of the drive as an opening to the South 
Seas; Japan lacked the rolling stock or automobiles to utilize 
such a route. In the year that followed, Japan got not a ton of 
rubber, oil, or tin over the new corridor to feed her starving 
industry, but in 1944 Japanese propagandists were trumpeting 
loud and long about their impregnable corridor to the south. 

The last consideration of the Japanese was more hope than 
sound expectation. This was to destroy Chinese power so 
thoroughly in the east as to reduce Chiang's armies to permanent 
impotence. In this objective they came perilously close to success. 

Within a fortnight of the quick termination of the Honan 
campaign the Japanese were ready to begin the soo-mile drive 
172 



from Hankow down the railway and valley of the Hsiang River 
to Kweilin and Liuchow, their main targets. The Japanese were 
striking at the heart of American interests on the mainland, but 
there was nothing America could do to protect their bases save 
watch the campaign and hope for a miracle. 

The defence of East China rested in the hands of General 
Hsueh Yueh, who delighted in the name of Tiger of Changsha. 
Changsha, his capital, was the lid to the valley of the Hsiang 
River, which stretched far to the south. It was the key to the 
railway, to the richest rice-producing areas in China, and to the 
defence of the valleys that were studded with American airfields. 
Hsueh was a rugged fighter; he liked the Americans; he admired 
the Fourteenth Air Force and took great pride in defending it. 
His reputation as a successful leader rested on three previous 
campaigns, in each of which he had frustrated a Japanese attack 
on Changsha. This reputation, which meant more to the Chinese 
and Americans than it did to the Japanese, did not survive the 
events of 1944. 

Hsueh was a peppery little Cantonese, and his host of Can- 
tonese friends were detested by the people of Hunan province, 
which he governed. He was said to have eleven armies, possibly 
200,000 men, under his direct control. To the east, in another 
war area, Yu Han-mou, another Cantonese general, had four 
armies, totalling possibly 100,000 men, while south of Hsueh, on 
the borders of Indo-China, was yet another Cantonese, General 
Chang Fa-kwei, with perhaps 50,000 men. Hsueh disliked and 
distrusted the Central Government, and the feeling was recipro- 
cated. Though in earlier decades he had stood in open opposition 
to Chiang K'ai-shek, he had subordinated himself to the national 
cause against the Japanese in 1937 and fought with valiant cour- 
age. By spring of 1944, however, the six-year stalemate had eaten 
away his earlier wholehearted devotion. He had the responsi- 
bility for defending the American bases, but he received almost 
nothing from the cornucopia of American supplies about which 
he read in the papers. He felt neglected and scorned, and his 
attitude had communicated itself to the other Cantonese generals 
to his south and east. 

At the end of May 1944 the Japanese wheeled out of their 
staging areas along the Yangtze, crossed the Milo River, and 
struck south towards Changsha. They had been preparing the 
move for weeks. The scouts of the Fourteenth Air Force reported 



EAST CHINA 
CAMPAIGN 






H I N 



CHAN66HA-AIW MiAK9MAY'44 



LIUCHOW-/UU5 A/OW1'44 

CANTON 



IMA > JAPANiSf JOIN 
'* - ' IHDO-CHINA 

FOPCfS CQMPLtT- 
ING COfWOOR 
NOV. '44 



. JAP-HELD TIRPITORV 
AT START OF CAMPAIGN 




that though the highways north of the lines were barren of all 
moving things by day, at night the yellow headlights of Japanese 
trucks glowed for miles on end; mercilessly the fighters and bom- 
bers of the forward echelon, striking at Japanese concentrations, 
hit at rivers, fords, and staging points. Pursuit pilots flew them- 
selves to exhaustion with three or four missions a day; they re- 
turned to base only to snatch coffee and cold sandwiches, and 
then flew back to hit again and again at an enemy who moved 
only by night and melted into the countryside by day. 

Between Hsueh and the Japanese lay the most ravaged of all 
the belts of no-man's-land in all the country. The Japanese had 
come in pronged columns on each previous attempt for Changsha; 
each time Hsueh had pulled his frontal units out of position, 
disposed them on the flanks of the Japanese columns, cut in from 
behind, and forced them to retreat. Once, in 1941, the Japanese 
had penetrated and sacked Changsha, but they had been forced 
out and driven back to their original positions. This time the 
Japanese came in greater strength and determination than ever 
before. Hsueh defended the city as he always had, with the same 
tactics and same units, but his units were three years older, their 
weapons three years more worn, the soldiers three years hungrier 
than when they had last won glory. 

For the defence of Changsha, Hsueh Yueh concentrated almost 
all the artillery of his war area a total of fifty-odd decrepit guns 
and posted them on a dominant peak called Yoloshan. The 
famous Fourth Army, whose glorious revolutionary tradition had 
won it the nickname of Iron Army, was in the city; it had only 
12,000 men to oppose a Japanese assault force estimated at 
24,000. These dispositions completed, Hsueh Yueh withdrew his 
headquarters about a hundred miles south. He hoped to suck 
the Japanese into Changsha, hammer them with his guns from 
Yoloshan when they entered the city, fold his flanks about them 
from the rear, and make them fall back. 

The bickering and internal contention that marked every tier 
of command in the Chinese army showed up at once. The artil- 
lery commander on Yoloshan demanded that the Fourth Army 
dispatch several regiments to support the unprotected artillery; 
the Fourth Army commander refused. The chief of staff of the 
\var area intervened and ordered the Fourth Army to supply 
infantry to the artillery; the commander of the Fourth still 
refused without personal orders from Hsueh Yueh, and Hsueh 



could not be reached by telephone. The Japanese moved in; they 
pinched off the artillery, which had no infantry support, and then 
wiped out the infantry of the Fourth Army, which had no artillery 
support. Four thousand men of the Fourth Army escaped alive ; the 
commander, having used his army's trucks to evacuate personal 
goods and chattels from danger and having escaped as the city fell, 
was arrested and shot on orders of Chiang K'ai-shek. 

The campaign then dissolved in chaos. The people did not rise 
against the army as they had in Honan, but there were enough 
loose ends in the politics of the province to make it a happy land 
for Japanese secret agents. Bands of three or four hundred Chinese 
in Japanese service filtered through the hills in peasant clothes to 
spy out dispositions, raid small villages, and set fires. Sometimes 
they mixed individually in the throng of refugees; they would 
ferret out a village's .secrets and defences, signal its condition by 
lanterns in the night, set fires, and then wait until their associates 
could swoop down from the hills. Japanese agents were armed 
with grenades and pistols; their orders were to kill any Chinese 
officer they could locate and all Americans. The troops fighting 
in Hunan were largely Szechwanese or Cantonese, and their 
dialects were different from the natives'; they did their best to 
shoot all civilians who could not identify themselves, but as they 
grew trigger-happy and nervous, they began to shoot suspects at 
random. The countryside was in motion; hundreds of thousands 
were fleeing. Refugees and fifth columnists could not be dis- 
tinguished, and the soldiers operated in a quicksand. 

Chungking now intervened, and for the next two months there 
was no real command anywhere in the field. Ho Ying-ch'in's 
general staff, Hsueh Yueh, Chang Fa-kwei, and Pai Chung-hsi, 
all had conflicting ideas. The field commanders distrusted 
Chungking; Chungking distrusted the field command. As the 
troops fell back through the great valley, Hsueh Yueh wished to 
concentrate two armies where the valley narrows and establish 
a strong line at a point called Chuting. Chungking disapproved; 
the two compromised, and one army was directed farther south, 
the other left to hold. The army left behind had neither strength 
to resist nor time to flee; it was decimated. For weeks the 
Generalissimo balanced his dislike and distrust of the Cantonese 
commander against the urgent national need for bolstering the 
line; when he finally decided to send one army on foot from the 
Communist blockade in the north to Hsueh in the south, it was 
176 



too late. The Generalissimo wanted Hsueh to retreat west, to the 
mountainous rim of Szechwan and Kweichow. This would have 
cut Hsueh off from his independent control of the rice supply of 
Hunan and thrown him back completely on the supply system of 
the Central Government. Hsueh claimed he did not want to 
cross the Hsiang River from east to west with insufficient boats 
under enemy fire; he therefore fell back eastward to southern 
Hunan and thus widened the gap between the main Chinese 
forces in the west and his own base. The Japanese drove on. 

In June, Yu Han-mou was ordered to send the Sixty-second 
Army to the relief of Hsueh. It moved up the railway to Heng- 
yang, arriving in mid-June. Hsueh wanted to bracket it with his 
own Tenth Army and make a strong point of Hengyang, the 
junction where the railway divides to Canton and Kweilin. Again 
Chungking and Hsueh could not see eye to eye; Chungking 
decreed that the Tenth Army should hold alone at Hengyang 
and that the Sixty-second should fall back to the southwest. 
It was as if Eisenhower in fighting the Battle of the Bulge had 
had to argue with Marshall over a period of weeks for each move 
he wanted to make in the field. Indecision prevailed in Chung- 
king. While the staff argued over strategy and bickered with 
Hsueh Yueh, Chiang K'ai-shek pondered over American de- 
mands for reform and proclaimed his fidelity to Madame 
Chiang K'ai-shek at his famous garden party. By the end of June, 
Hengyang, a grey, uninspiring rice town in southern Hunan, was 
completely surrounded and the Tenth Army trapped. The heat 
of full summer hung over Hunan; malaria and dysentery were 
in their high season as the green fields shimmered with heat 
waves. The Fourteenth Air Force was ripping into the supply 
lines of the Japanese with all the resources at its disposal; it 
consumed its pilots, its planes, its ground crews; its officers were 
haggard, its men hollow-eyed. 

Panic had struck all eastern China. The gay tarts of Kweilin 
were packing to leave; the night clubs hung signs in their win- 
dows: "So long, buddies, and good luck," said the one at the 
Ledo, signed "Anne and Yvonne". Refugees poured down the 
railway line and stuffed themselves into cars with their babies, 
bedrolls, and luggage. They clung to train roofs, clustered on the 
cowcatchers, spread boards over brakerods and slept on them. 
American officers and men mingled in the trek. One American 
officer, assisting at the birth of a Chinese baby on the roof of a 
Go x 77 



refugee train as the rain beat down, fed the mother and child 
crushed sulfanilimide until they were out of danger. 

Miraculously, at Hengyang, the Tenth Army held. It was cor- 
nered, its position hopeless, but it fought with a desperate courage 
that harked back to the days of Shanghai. Chungking's mercurial 
mood soared again; the military spokesman claimed the Japanese 
had been stopped ; the press revelled in the glorious stand of the 
15,000 embattled men of the Tenth Army. The Chinese staff 
interpreted the lull in the campaign as the end of Japanese ambi- 
tion. A huge counter-offensive was announced to drive the 
Japanese back to their starting line. The Sixty-second Army was 
ordered back into battle at Hengyang,' where Hsueh Yueh had 
originally wanted it. This was the moment for which Chungking 
had been waiting, the final summoning of energies. It made good 
reading in the press : liamlets were recaptured each day; generals 
declared that contact with the besieged garrison had already been 
made. In the field, far from Chungking, the counterattack had 
a different countenance. The high command had millions of 
troops on its books, but less than a hundred thousand were within 
range of action. Of these one army, the Sixty-second, moved 
towards assault position; it pushed one of its divisions to the point 
where the enemy held ; the divisional commander sent forth two 
of his three regiments and these constituted the Chinese drive. 

I marched up with the Sixty-second Army as it moved on the 
Japanese siege ring. With me was Graham Barrow of Reuters. 
The distance from the railhead to the front was a matter of 
30 miles. It was dawn when we fell into the troop column, but 
the cloudless skies were already scorching. As far as we could see 
ahead into the hills and beyond were marching men. They 
crawled on foot over every footpath through the rice paddies; 
they snaked along over every ditch and broken bridge in parallel 
rivulets of sweating humanity. One man in three had a rifle ; 
the rest carried supplies, telephone wire, rice sacks, machine- 
gun parts. Between the unsmiling soldiers plodded blue-gowned 
peasant coolies who had been impressed for supplementary carrier 
duty. There was not a single motor, not a truck anywhere in the 
entire column. There was not a piece of artillery. At rarest inter- 
vals pack animals bore part of the burden. Now and then during 
the day a little Chinese pony showed above the heads of the 
marching troops; ponies were reserved for officers of regimental 



rank or higher. The men walked quietly, with the curious bitter- 
ness of Chinese soldiers who expect nothing but disaster at the 
end of a trip, none suffering acutely, each bearing the bitterness 
of decades one day farther along the road. They were wiry and 
brown but thin; their guns were old, their yellow-and-brown 
uniforms threadbare. Each carried two grenades tucked in his 
belt; about the neck of each was a long blue stocking inflated like 
a roll of bologna with dry rice kernels, the only field rations. 
Their feet were broken and puffed above their straw sandals; 
their heads were covered with birds' nests of leaves woven together 
to give shade from the sun and supposedly to supply camouflage. 
The sweat rolled from them; dust rose about them; the heat 
clutched the entire country, and giddy, glistening waves rose 
from the rice paddies. 

Along the way we came on knots of peasants who had been 
rounded up by the civilian officials for the service of the army. 
The unit commanders stopped at these stations to pick up bag- 
gage bearers, just as a truck in any other army would stop to 
pick up gasoline at a filling station. The peasants marched with 
the troops until they were exhausted, then fell out, were fed rice, 
and were sent back to the service stations again. At night the 
army holed up for a short rest in the deserted villages a few miles 
back from the front. The soldiers seized for food what pigs or 
vegetables the peasants had left in their flight; they tore boards, 
doors, and wall planking from peasant homes to make beds; 
they chopped up staves, fence posts, and rafters to make fire for 
boiling their water and rice. 

At three-thirty the next morning the attack was launched. The 
Japanese held the high hills south of Hengyang; the Sixty-second 
held a lower ridge facing them. The attacking division had two 
French seventy-fives, from the First World War, and a few trench 
mortars. It had 200 shells for the seventy-fives, and it expended 
them 33 a miser counts out gold coins. From three-thirty till mid- 
morning the Chinese crawled up the slopes to the Japanese 
positions. Their rifles and bayonets tried to shoot or dig the enemy 
out, but at mid-morning the Japanese were still there. Graham 
Barrow and I clambered up to the highest Chinese position in the 
afternoon to watch the fight. The Chinese mortars whistled fit- 
fully over the crest where the Japanese were dug in; machine- 
guns and rifles rattled at long intervals in the summer heat; not a 
man was moving along the entire line. 

'79 



We waited for three days to see the counteroflfensive get under 
way ; then we set our faces homeward. We realized that what we had 
seen had been the counteroffensive, and nothing more would come 
of the campaign. All that flesh and blood could do the Chinese soldiers 
were doing. They were walking up hills and dying in the sun, but 
they had no support, no guns, no directions. They were doomed. 

The Japanese rested at Hengyang for over a month; they were 
merely regrouping. One by one the Central Government moved 
other tired Chinese armies up to the siege line to break through. 
Eventually some 100,000 Chinese troops were trying to chew 
their way through one-fourth that number of the enemy. Chung- 
king breathed down the neck of the field commanders; Chung- 
king decided when, how, and where the actions of the day should 
take place. Reinforcements were fed piecemeal in nibbling 
assaults. The numerical superiority of the Chinese was never 
massed for one concentrated breakthrough; new units served 
only to replace constant casualties. 

At the end of August the Japanese resumed the initiative in the 
comparative coolness of late summer. The Sixty-second Army 
disappeared completely in five days of fighting. The Japanese 
drove south through the hills to the pass of Chuanhsien, a narrow 
gully that is the strategic opening into the province of Kwangsi 
from the north. A relief army, the Ninety-third, held the pass. It 
had marched down from the north to join the East China cam- 
paign. The troops had starved en route, and when they arrived 
in Kwangsi, they sacked the rice dumps at the railway station in 
Liuchow. When discipline was re-established, they hurriedly 
boarded trains and rode north to get in position. They had old, 
Japanese-made artillery; they were tired; they had never co- 
operated with the American air force before, and they were 
afraid of it; they had no building materials for making dugouts 
or shelters; they did not know the terrain, the people, or where 
the enemy was. They spread out over the pass. The commander 
did not know where his own flanks were, did not know the dis- 
tance to the next Chinese unit in line, did not know which villages 
the enemy held. To the American liaison group attached to him 
he promised that he would hold his position to the last man with- 
out yielding a yard. The American group went to sleep reassured; 
awakened at night by the sound of marching feet, they found 
that the Ninety-t^iird was marching south, abandoning the pass 
before a shot had been fired. 
1 80 



Such incidents happened again and again in the campaign. 
The Generalissimo ordered the commander of the Ninety-third 
shot; he ordered the commander at Kweiping shot; he ordered 
other officers shot. But morale in the Chinese army was too far 
gone to be re-established by drumhead executions. The break at 
the pass near Chuanhsien meant the end of the campaign for 
eastern China. Sixty-five miles of easy country separated the 
main American base from the Japanese advance. General Stil- 
well and General Chennault flew down for a quick look in mid- 
September the day after the breakthrough, and Stilwell ordered 
Vincent, the commander of the forward echelon, to blow all 
American strips and installations in the vicinity of Kweilin except 
one bomber strip. This would be used up to the last minute to 
ferry American guns and ammunition to Chang Fa-kwei, who was 
now in command of the area. 

The last days of Kweilin were sheer fantasy. The Chinese army 
had disintegrated. One unit of 14,000 soldiers had only 2,000 
serviceable rifles. The scattered reserves that had been rushed 
from other fronts were spread in disorganization over an area of 
500 miles; some were tired, others untried, all leaderless. Some 
had old Chinese guns; some had Russian guns, others prewar 
Japanese artillery. No one had enough ammunition. And the 
Japanese were strong; the Japanese were in force, mobile, ahorse, 
afoot, riding on trucks and captured trains. The fifth column was 
everywhere, and the unsettling gossip and fear of it were worse 
than the column itself. Behind every soldier was the shadow of a 
traitor. The day before the preliminary evacuation of Kweilin two 
American soldiers who were working on a field in the vicinity to 
prepare it for demolition were fired at by men in civilian clothes in the 
hills ; Chinese troops caught and executed the gunmen on the spot. 

In Kweilin the Chinese prepared for the end. Civilian evacua- 
tion had been completed ; in the suburbs the last of the refugees 
were crawling away. One of the mountain trails to the interior 
lay across the main American air base at Liangtang; as the 
refugees moved across this trail and wound about the fringe of the 
field, they looked up into the sky at the planes that were still 
flying in and out for combat and evacuation. A man lay dead by 
the side of the road ; people heaped straw on his body and kept 
on. A woman bound a wet, bleeding, shapeless foot that had been 
run over, then hobbled on. A farmer passed, carrying his baby 

181 



in a basket suspended from a shoulder stave; the baby crowed 
and gurgled. 

Thousands of refugees jammed the railway station. Red and 
orange fires were bellying up in every direction, their light re- 
flected against the mushrooms of dark smoke that hung over the 
town. The heavy night air was full of the stench of human beings 
who lay in mounds on the platforms. Babies wailed in the dark- 
ness, mothers scolded, old men mumbled. In the cars people 
were piled thick. Some had been packed on the trains for days ; 
they would not leave their places for fear of being unable to get 
aboard again. They could not relieve themselves anywhere but 
where they lay stuffed; the odour of their bodies, the sweat, the 
hungry breath mixed in great fumes, wafted above the yards. 
Kweilin had the best railway shops and equipment in all of Free 
China ; the railway administration had to decide how to use what 
remained of its rolling stock for evacuation whether to use it for 
refugees, for its own shop equipment, or for evacuation of American 
supplies; some of each would certainly have to be left behind. 

The city was quiet; houses were boarded up, shops empty. 
The Central Caf6 lowered the price of its special Ting How 
whisky from $900 to $600 a bottle at the beginning of the week; 
the next day the price was cut another hundred ; on the last day 
the whisky was being given away to any American still in town, 
and then the cafe boarded its doors. The Ledo, the Paramount, 
the Red Plum, the Lakeside, the Lockchun, all the other happy 
establishments, were closed too; on the boards the departing 
civilians had pasted patriotic strips in red and black calling for 
resistance. Soldiers prepared barricades and trenches in the empty 
streets for future use; they had raided the empty shops and stored 
their dugouts with real food and real wine. The last five soldiers 
I saw at the northern gate had seventeen bottles of wine that 
they were finishing with great good cheer as they waited for the 
enemy. The Americans at the base reacted with no confusion or 
alarm. The technique of destroying bases by now was normal; 
all had been planned in advance. High up on the Yunnanese 
Plateau in the rear the Air Transport Command was standing by, 
as it had been for days, ready to throw its carriers into the low- 
lands to pull out equipment. Every single ton of bombs, gasoline, 
spare parts, and repair shops that had been flown from India to 
Kunming or Kweilin had cost at least 3 tons of gasoline to get it 
there ; to evacuate now was to make half the work of the Hump futile. 
182 



Personnel rosters had to be telescoped so that air operation 
against the enemy could proceed without an hour's halt, so that 
men could perform their last service from Kweilin, fly south at 
nightfall, pick up the thread of continuity the next day from rear 
bases, and continue to hammer the enemy's columns without an 
instant's let-up. Bomber crews flew out with their planes; fighter 
pilots were responsible for removing themselves. Adjutants of all 
squadrons were required to make sure that they had ordered 
enough truck or transport space to fly or haul out the ground per- 
sonnel left behind. The cargo carriers of ATC lined up on the 
fields one after another, ten in a row, to haul out the goods and 
men they had so dangerously brought in. Into the runways went 
thousand-pound bombs. The fuses were pulled out, the nose 
cavities filled with pasty explosive C compound. Men moving 
through the ghostly glow of jeep headlights wired detonators 
into sockets full of explosives. The GFs still working on demo- 
lition were taking it as a matter of course. Two of them were 
discussing explosives in the dim glow of distant fires. "You can 
eat G compound, you know," said one of them and handtd a 
gobbet of the clay to somebody standing near by. Another 
volunteered, "You can eat dynamite too; it tastes pretty good if 
you're hungry." "Yup," said somebody else, "but if you eat 
too much dynamite, then you get a jag on, and the next morning 
you have a hangover." Somebody giggled nervously. There was 
silence, and then floating through the air came an extraneous 
bit of conversation from some other soldiers nearby; it seemed 
as unreal as everything else: "No one in my family snores except 
my old man but, boy, he sure does snore." 

Five hundred and fifty shacks and barracks had to be blown 
up on the last night in Kweilin. The shacks and barracks were 
tucked away between the hills around the base. In each shack 
one of the demolition crews had set up a barrel of gasoline, usually 
on a box or packing case. An officer gave the word ; a soldier stood 
at the doorway with a carbine; someone else fixed his flashlight 
on the gasoline drum in the dark, and the carbine fired. It fired 
once, twice, three times. The sergeant waited a moment as the 
gasoline trickled from the holed drums and its fumes filled the 
rooms. Then he fired once more, and the fumes caught in a 
single burst. Sometimes thatched roofs lifted several feet in the 
air at the flash, and then fire rippled through the rooms like racing 
water. The fires flared in red, gold, and white brilliance, each one 

183 



capped by black oil smoke. When the thatched roof caught, the 
fire spilled down from crest to eaves in incredibly swift runlets. 
The green grass on the hills looked fresh as day in the light of the 
fires. One by one the buildings went till all the valley blazed as if 
a monstrous army had lit campfires in the night. From other 
dumps we heard the booming of explosives letting go and bombs 
in the distance. In some of the shacks there was ammunition, 
rifle and pistol clips that careless men had left behind; it popped 
offlike a crackling corn. A cache of tracer bullets in one shack went 
up in the air and pencilled white and red arches over the hills. 

Two planes were left on the last strip the next morning, one a 
cargo carrier, the other Casey Vincent's personal 6-25. I flew 
out with Casey that morning. He pulled the 6-25 into the air 
and wheeled it back to the field. Waving black plumes of smoke 
showed where our barracks had been; only one strip was still 
left of the greatest American installation in China, the one that 
was to be used till the last moment to rush supplies to Chang 
Fa-kwei's beleaguered garrison. The others were potholed with 
black craters as ugly as eyeless sockets. 

"I'm going to write a book about this campaign," said Vincent. 
"I'm going to call it Fire and Fall Back" 

In the next week the Japanese drove within 25 miles of Kweilin ; 
then, instead of striking in immediate assault, they halted five 
weeks to regroup and regather their overextended supply lines. 
It was as if the stage manager of the war had called a halt to field 
activity so that the audience might devote its full attention to 
events in the capital. A crisis was developing there; it became 
known in America later simply as the Stilwell crisis. Its ingredients 
were mixed and confused; sharply etched personalities were 
snarling at one another, contending parties were denouncing 
each other, and popular criticism of the government, both in 
China and abroad, was rising in thundering crescendo. On 
October 18 the crisis was resolved by the relief of Stilwell. The 
Japanese almost immediately launched their final assault on the 
last remaining link between Free China and the coast, the 
Kweilin-Liuchow gap. 

The remnants of the Chinese armies were formed about the 
two cities of Kweilin and Liuchow, a few thousand here, a few 
thousand there, each little pocket bearing the standard of a full 
army that had been a coherent unit a few months before. The 
184 



Japanese cut through the tired, disorganized fragments of the 
Chinese army with careless ease. The government had dis- 
banded the militiamen of Kwangsi in 1939 out of its general fear 
of all armed popular movements ; a last desperate attempt was 
made to call them back to the colours to defend their native soil. 
But there were neither arms to give them nor spirited leaders to 
guide them. The few eastern China generals who still retained a 
local popular loyalty were old enemies of the Generalissimo, and 
even in the hour of extremity he did not recall them. The Four- 
teenth Air Force, chewing on Jap columns, made an impreg- 
nable canopy of fury for the spent Chinese soldiery. But the 
ground troops were too exhausted to take advantage of it. 

Kweilin and Liuchow fell within a few days of each other, and 
in mid-November the entire defence gave way. Entire armies dis- 
appeared, lost in the hills and unable to make a stand. One army 
from the Chungking garrison was rushed into position at the 
famous Nantan Pass that separates the high plateau of Kweichow 
from the low, steaming paddies of Kwangsi. It moved into the 
notched pass with the exhortation to hold to the bitter end. The 
troops received two days' rations when they dug in, and their 
mortars had twenty shells to a gun. For nine days, without further 
food or ammunition, they fought in the cold and freezing weather. 
Their foraging parties scoured the hills for grain and animals, 
but the hills were barren. With their ammunition expended and 
their stomachs empty, the troops broke, and the Japanese surged 
through the pass, 1 20 miles inland from Liuchow, pointing directly 
at Kweiyang and the heart of the government's communications. 

Panic had seized Chungking. Wedemeyer had arrived, expect- 
ing to hold and strengthen eastern China. During his first week 
in Chungking his combat reports told him that Kweilin and 
Liuchow were being finally abandoned. Certain Chinese govern- 
ment officials inquired at the American Embassy about the possi- 
bility of evacuating their families from China by plane; others 
began to sell their clothes and valuables. No one knew what was 
happening in the east the line was torn open, bandits were 
raiding the villages for scores of miles about the path of Japanese 
advance, the Japanese cavalry appeared each day farther and 
farther to the north. 

With the last week in November a cold wave rolled down out of 
the north across the high Kweichow plateau. I drove into Kwei- 
yang to see the end of the campaign, and for 500 miles the roads 
Gi 185 



were ribbons of ice strung along the hills. The telephone wires, 
coated with rime and ice, sagged limply under their burden or, 
breaking, buried themselves in the snow. Dead refugees lying by 
the wayside were preserved from decomposition by the frost; 
those who had lain for several days were stripped of their clothes 
by the living, who needed warmth. The hungry clustered about 
the horses and mules that had died on the road, to strip meat and 
flesh from the carcasses in red slivers. Others chipped at timbers 
and logs in deserted villages- to get wood for bonfires. A gaunt 
Bactrian camel, red-tasselled and haughty-necked, threaded its 
\yay through the procession. At night wolves loped along the 
road through the deserted villages. 

Perhaps the only military unit in the entire insane rout that had 
any real sense of coherence and purpose was a group of fifteen 
American army officers and enlisted men of the OSS. Major 
Frank Gleason, a red-headed twenty-five-year-old boy from Penn- 
sylvania, was their commander. Their job was to tear apart 
everything in the course of retreat that could be of value to the 
Japanese. With complete singlemindedness, Gleason laid waste 
the countryside. He recruited Chinese coolies to help him as he 
progressed through the ravaged highway area; having no funds 
to pay them, he enfranchised them to forage in the towns on 
which the enemy was descending. Gleason's unit started the 
campaign with three trucks and wound up with eight vehicles, 
a Chinese orphan they had adopted as a mascot, a Chinese cook, 
and an assortment of hangers-on who had grown fat on the sale 
of bicycles, tyres, gauges, and equipment abandoned by the 
Chinese army in full flight. 

At Tushan, 140 miles from the key junction of Kweiyang, 
Gleason heard one of the often repeated stories of the China 
theatre. The Chinese, someone said, have a lot of arms buried in 
the hills around here. When the Japanese were 20 miles away, 
Gleason decided to investigate. His preliminary investigation 
was staggering; he found three great ammunition dumps, com- 
prising from twenty to thirty warehouses, each about 200 feet 
long, in which the Chinese had been collecting their ammunition 
for years against a crisis in East China; with the Japanese on the 
threshold, the ammunition was still being hoarded. The supply- 
starved troops down the road had already abandoned every 
defensible position, but the Chinese staff clung to its hoard with 
monumental inefficiency. Fifty thousand tons of supplies were 
186 



stacked uselessly at Tushan. There was ammunition of every type 
French, Czech, American, Chinese, German, and Russian; 
there were mortars and thousands of mortar shells, fifty new 
pieces of artillery and huge quantities of ammunition to supply 
them ; best of all, from Gleason's point of view, there were 20 
tons of dynamite with which to blow the dumps to kingdom come. 
Gleason began his work in midmorning of the last day; the 
Japanese were expected to enter the town in early afternoon. 
His men had finished their work by four and on their way out of 
town blew up the last bridges. 

The Japanese, entering Tushan that day, sent a few cavalry 
patrols probing up the road. They held their positions about 
Tushan for a week, then began to contract their lines, and dug in 
for the winter at the town of Hochih, midway between Kweiyang 
and Liuchow. For a full year Chungking debated the reasons for 
the Japanese withdrawal. Ambassador Hurley declared, with 
becoming modesty, that his moral courage had held the Chinese 
from total collapse. The gossips, who always knew everything if 
it was discreditable enough, were sure that Chiang K'ai-shek 
had made a secret deal with the Japanese to save Chungking in 
return for his intercession on their behalf at the ultimate peace. 

The reasons for the Japanese withdrawal were quite clear in the 
field. They had prepared for a campaign in East China to drive 
a corridor from Hankow south to the border of Indo-China. 
Their mission .accomplished, they probed casually at the ap- 
proaches to Chungking; where there should have been a strong 
defence line, they found nothing but a gaping hole. A single 
Japanese division, tearing through this hole up into the Kwei- 
chow plateau, met no resistance but the elements, which, how- 
ever, were on China's side. Kweichow is a barren, poverty- 
stricken province. There were no rich harvests of grain to feed 
the invader as there had been in eastern China. The Japanese, 
having prepared for a summer campaign, were dressed in summer 
cottons; the cold that now clamped down on them with mur- 
derous intensity froze them as mercilessly as it froze the Chinese. 
They were 200 miles from their supply base, and they had no 
alternate plans to take advantage of the tremendous opportunity 
that Chinese collapse presented. Something more was working 
against the Japanese; a new defence plan had been prepared by 
General Wedemeyer late in November. He had flown into the 
battle zone two divisions of American-trained troops from 

187 



northern Burma, where Stilwell had trained them in victory; he 
had demanded of Chiang 60,000 troops from the Communist 
blockade in the north for the same purpose, and these likewise 
were being flown in. These new elements were gathering for a 
last-ditch stand to meet the over-extended and tired Japanese 
spearheads. The Japanese thought better of the entire matter 
and withdrew to defend their corridor in the east. 

Thus in December 1944 the invasion of China by Japan reached 
its high-water mark and receded. For the government and its 
armies 1944 had been a year of unmitigated disaster. Almost half 
a million Chinese soldiers had been lost, the entire coast was cut 
off from the Central Government, eight provinces and a popu- 
lation of more than 100,000,000 had been ripped from the direct 
control of Chungking. The Kuomintang could explain its defeats 
in convincing terms of poverty and weakness. It could rightly 
charge America with having neglected it during a period of great 
want and suffering. But it could not explain why another Chinese 
army, that of the Communists, was moving from success to success 
in North China. The Japanese had crossed the Yellow River in 
their Honan drive in April; in August, while their colums were 
tearing through Hunan, hundreds of miles to the south, the 
Japanese were already being forced to defend their positions in 
the north against a counteroflfensive. The Communists had fol- 
lowed in their wake and were beginning to organize the peasants 
of Honan. 

CHAPTER 13 
THE CHINESE COMMUNISTS 

IN 1937 THE war found the Communists a splinter group 
in the sandlands of northern Shensi, where they governed one and 
a half million people in an area of 30,000 square miles defended 
by a Red Army of 85,000. The summer of 1944 saw them in 
control of 300,000 miles of Chinese soil, inhabited by 90,000,000 
people and defending themselves with an army of almost a 
million regular troops supported by more than twice as many 
peasant militiamen. Their party membership had grown from 
perhaps 200,000 to 1,000,000. They had exploded rather than 
expanded. From their base in northern Shensi they had driven 
across the hills of Shansi and the plains of Hopei to the Pacific. 
1 88 



Their guerrillas flickered about the Great Wall and the approaches 
to Manchuria. Even by 1941 the centre of balance in Communist 
territory had shifted beyond the Yellow River and was somewhere 
behind the Japanese lines, between the Yellow River and the 
ocean. 

Their swift early expansion was checked from 1940 to 1942. In 
the summer of 1940 they launched a broad but ill-timed counter- 
offensive called the Hundred Regiments' Battle against Japanese 
railway communications in the north. They blew bridges sky- 
high, pinched off Japanese garrisons, and stopped railway move- 
ment for several weeks. But the Communists were not really ripe 
for this kind of action, and they could not hold their gains; the 
aroused Japanese responded with a series of heavy counters trokes. 
Between 1941 and 1943, while the Central Government sealed 
the blockade airtight behind them, the Communists desperately 
resisted a series of trip-hammer "mopping-up" Japanese cam- 
paigns. The Communists' control of northern China weakened 
for a while under this impact; they were driven back into their 
solid bases, where they clung with the tenacity of desperation. 

The pressure had lifted by 1943, however. The Japanese were 
too thoroughly preoccupied in the South Seas, against America, 
to divert more strength to the supposedly "conquered" areas of 
northern China; they withdrew to their walled cities and supply 
lines and dug in. The Communists, too, had dug in but 
differently; the government blockade had strengthened them 
rather than strangled them, for it had made them self-reliant and 
self-sufficient. They had devised new methods of production and 
organization that more than balanced the loss of what little help 
the Kuomintang had previously doled out to them. By 1 943 they 
were in full tide of expansion again. They had nearly eliminated 
government influence in the province of Shantung by the end 
of that year, and the Eighth Route Army in northern Kiangsu 
was stronger than ever. 

The New Fourth Army, which the Central Government had 
tried to wipe out in 1941, was also flourishing. It occupied all the 
central part of Kiangsu and most of the south of the province. 
Its units stretched inland along the Yangtze River to Hankow, 
and about that inland metropolis the New Fourth Army had 
created a huge base that covered most of the province of Hupeh 
and parts of southern Honan. An enclave of Communists 
operated about Canton in the south, and another pocket of 

189 



Communists was carrying on independent warfare against the 
Japanese on the island of Hainan, off the coast of French Indo- 
China. The various units of the Eighth Route and New Fourth 
Armies were an organic part of a system of local governments, 
which the Communists called " liberated regions". In the summer 
of 1944 there were eighteen such liberated regions, and more 
were contemplated in the new areas of Japanese conquest. 

The tremendous energy behind the Communist drive was co- 
ordinated from Yenan. A radio and courier network linked all 
Communist centres from Hainan in the south to the outskirts 
of Manchuria. The radios were an amateur patchwork of broken 
Japanese sets, second-hand tubes, and makeshift materials. But 
the codes, which were excellent, baffled both the Kuomintang and 
the Japanese, and these communications bound together with iron 
cords of discipline the eighteen local governments in a coalition 
that seemed at times a shadow government and at times the most 
effective righting instrument of the Chinese people. 

Ninety per cent of the vast Communist-controlled area was 
marked on the map as Japanese-held. It is true that Japanese 
garrisons and lines of communication laced the entire fabric; it is 
true that in no single liberated region did the Communists hold 
more than a few hundred miles of land completely clear of the 
enemy; it is true that almost every government centre they 
established was a mobile command post ready to move or fight 
with the troops on a few hours' notice. But each of these govern- 
ments was able to collect taxes, pass laws, fight the enemy, arm 
the peasants, and create a loyalty to its leadership that endured 
whatever savagery the Japanese marshalled against it. 

Though their enemies denounced the Communists' beliefs and 
attributed to them every shameful excess they could imagine, no 
one could deny they had wrought a miracle in arms. In six years 
the Communists had thrown out from the barren hills a chain of 
bases that swept in an arc from Manchuria to the Yangtze 
Valley. Rarely in the history of modern war or politics has there 
been any political adventure to match this in imagination or 
epic grandeur. The job was done by men who worked with history 
as if it were a tool and with peasants as if they were raw material; 
they reached down into the darkness of each village and sum- 
moned from it with their will and their slogans such resources 
of power as neither the Kuomintang nor Japan imagined could 
exist. The power came from the people from the unleashing of 
190 



the internal tensions that had so long paralysed the countryside, 
from the intelligence of masses of men, from the dauntless, 
enduring courage of the peasant. 

The entire Communist political thesis could be reduced to a 
single paragraph: If you take a peasant who has been swindled, 
beaten, and kicked about for all his waking days and whose father 
has transmitted to him an emotion of bitterness reaching back for 
generations if you take such a peasant, treat him like a man, ask 
his opinion, let him vote for a local government, let him organize 
his own police and gendarmes, decide on his own taxes, and vote 
himself a reduction in rent and interest if you do all that, the 
peasant becomes a man who has something to fight for, and he 
will fight to preserve it against any enemy, Japanese or Chinese. 
If in addition you present the peasant with an army and a govern- 
ment that help him harvest, teach him to read and write, and 
fight off the Japanese who raped his wife and tortured his mother, 
he develops a loyalty to the army and the government and to the 
party that controls them. He votes for that party, thinks the way 
that party wants him to think, and in many cases becomes an 
active participant. 

The Communists, beyond any doubt, are complete masters of 
brutality when brutality becomes necessary. Stirring the peasant 
out of his millennial apathy into active, organized movement 
requires the simplest, most direct appeal to his emotions. It is 
work for fanatics. The Communists of China were and are men 
who consume themselves first of all; the older party members 
had given themselves to the movement totally, had no life outside 
the party, had made their own personalities a torch to light the 
way for the peasants. Men who sacrificed themselves so cruelly to 
an ideal were equally cruel to opposition, equally ruthless to any 
group that the party labelled as an enemy. The chief task the 
Communist Party undertook during the war years was war itself. 
Their operations flowed from the theory that all war is total war, 
and the chief duty of the party was to weld peasants and army 
into one. There were not enough Communists to fight a war alone 
the peasantry had to be taught to defend itself and govern itself 
even if every accepted standard of legality and tradition had to be 
swept away. Through fifteen years of merciless class warfare the 
Communists had been experimenting in techniques of mass 
action; they had learned while fighting Chiang K'ai-shek how to 
tap the reservoirs of discontent in each village for fresh power. 



Now they proceeded to modify these techniques for the national 
war against the Japanese. 

The party set out t6 teach the peasants self-government. In all 
of Chinese history the peasants had had no such experience, and 
they were putty in the hands of their Communist mentors. Village 
and county councils were created, and in them were lodged the 
powers that touched the peasants' life most closely. Their prob- 
lems were such as the peasants had been exposed to since child- 
hood. Swept into the machinery of government for the first time, 
the peasants found that they possessed unknown talents and un- 
suspected abilities. No village council needed a classical education 
to decide who should pay more taxes and who less, for the com- 
mon good. The villagers knew who collected how much grain 
and from what fields ; they were the best fitted to apportion the 
burden of war. Scholars and bureaucrats with college degrees 
were not needed to organize village self-defence corps. The crude 
talents that were called forth by the new responsibilities were 
skilfully developed by far-seeing Communist leadership. 

To the Kuomintang what the Communists were doing seemed 
devilishly clever. The Communists took the laws that Kuomin- 
tang liberals had written into sterile statute books, and they 
taught the peasants to apply them. Nanking, in 1930, had passed 
an abortive law limiting rent on land to 37.5 per cent of the crop 
yield. The law had never been implemented. But now, in Com- 
munist areas, the village and county councils chosen from among 
the people voted these laws into effect. The voting may have been 
illegal, but it could not be assailed as undemocratic. Who would 
vote against cutting his rent rates by half? Peasants participating 
in such meetings and belonging to such governments learned that 
government is a lever that can be applied for their interests as 
well as against them. Democracy meant more grain in the harvest 
basket of the man who tilled the soil. In Communist areas where 
the Japanese could not penetrate, the peasants actually lived 
better during the war than they had before. 

Reform was held under tight control from above. The Com- 
munists had learned in civil war days how bitterly the landed 
groups could fight against violent reform. Any such cleavage 
within the villages during the war against the Japanese was 
dangerous; a united front of all 'classes was a prime requisite. 
Landlords received guarantees from the local government that 
although rents had been cut, they would be paid; although 

19* 



interest rates were reduced, moneylenders were assured of the 
integrity of their loans. Expropriation had been a cardinal tenet 
of Communist doctrine in the 1 930*5; now it was outlawed except 
in cases of landlords who aided or collaborated with the invader. 
By and large the landlords and the well-to-do of North China 
hated the Japanese as much as the peasantry did. They too died 
and suffered ; they too were fired by patriotism. Reform, they found, 
was not nearly so painful as defeat or invasion; they co-operated, 
some actively and some passively, with the Communist leadership, 
and they were swept along in the popular tide of resistance. 

To staff all the local governments the Communists scoured the 
social resources of the land. They tutored peasant leaders, who 
became able military commanders as well as local deputies and 
administrators. A host of intellectuals and students had aban- 
doned their careers in the large cities of China at the call of war; 
the Communists made organizers, teachers, and bureaucratic 
cadres of them. As the area under Communist control expanded 
and deepened, careers opened that offered opportunity for young 
talent to advance quicker than ever before. While the Kuomin- 
tang remained stationary and its bureaucracy entrenched itself 
at the trough through the years of stalemate, the Communists 
unceasingly recruited new talent in the field. Young men of 
twenty-five became the magistrates of counties of several hundred 
thousand people; girls of college years organized mass movements 
that aimed at nothing less than revolution. 

The reforms the Communists championed did not stop at self- 
government in the village nor at the equalization of economic 
injustice, although these were massive objectives. Communist 
theory aimed at the activization of every human particle of 
Chinese society. Their headquarters in Yenan were a clearing 
house of ideas and techniques; each successful practice established 
in any region was reported back to Yenan, lifted from the level 
of operation to that of principle, and then spread over all the 
rest of Red China by the party. 

Co-operative associations taught peasants how to work together 
in primitive industrial units. A Youth National Salvation Associa- 
tion was launched to make adolescents part of the military estab- 
lishment; children not yet in their teens guarded roads, spied on 
Japanese garrisons, ran courier duty. The Woman's National 
Salvation Association became a vital social fact; in it Communist 
organizers taught backward peasant women to spin and weave, 



to make stockings and sandals, to read and write. The peasant 
woman had been a brood mare, a beast of burden; the Com- 
munists believed that only with education could she become an 
active citizen participating in local government, and each such 
participant increased the government's strength. Teaching her to 
make sandals, socks, and cloth helped provide necessary clothing 
materials for both troops and civilians in place of supplies that 
had been cut off by the Japanese and the Kuomintang. It also 
gave the housewife a little income of her own, which raised her 
status within her own household and freed her from the domi- 
nance of her husband and in-laws. 

The new governments and reforms constituted half of the Com- 
munists' appeal; the military leadership of the Communist armies 
made up the other half. In a sense the Communists won their real 
popularity by the war they waged against Japan. The black 
nature of Japanese conquest was common foe to every man, rich 
or poor, learned or ignorant. The Japanese had begun with bar- 
barism, and when barbarism begot resistance, no fresh reserves of 
terror remained to cow the peasants. As each succeeding Japanese 
atrocity failed, it called forth a new doctrine of savagery. The 
baffled Japanese in the course of six years arrived at total political 
bankruptcy in northern China; their final slogan in 1944 was 
simply: "Kill all, burn all, loot all." From one end of northern 
China to another the blackened shells of villages gave testimony 
to the wrath of the enemy, while in a hundred thousand homes 
peasants nursed the bitterness of revenge for a wife raped, a 
husband tortured, a child slaughtered in cold blood. 

The war between the Communists and the Japanese trans- 
formed the face of the land. The Japanese dug ditches paralleling 
their highways and railways for hundreds of miles up hill and 
down valley. All along these lines of communications scallops of 
machine-gun emplacements were cut into the soil; they were 
manned constantly by the Japanese or by Chinese traitors. Every 
bridge was guarded by a blockhouse; when American planes 
began to strafe the rail lines, the blockhouses became flak towers. 
Telephone poles were set in concrete to keep the guerrillas from 
ripping them out; in some places lights were lit atop these poles 
at night for further protection. The Japanese garrisons mostly 
dwelt in larger cities, which were moated and turreted like some- 
thing out of Ivanhoe. They sallied forth from these garrison posts 
periodically to combat the Communist armies; they struck into 
194 



the hills and villages time and again ; they plundered, they killed 
and then returned to bind up their wounds and plan further pillage. 

The regular army of the Communists was difficult to describe. 
It had a very loose structural framework, for it was a partisan 
army. By agreement with the Central Government the Eighth 
Route Army had been limited to a total of 45,000 men, or three 
divisions; later, when its personnel expanded over the half- 
million mark, it still clung to the framework of its original three 
divisions, although each division now had several hundred 
thousand men. The largest single concentration of Communist 
and also of Kuomintang man power was posted on the blockade 
line north of Sian, where 50,000 picked Communist troops 
opposed perhaps several hundred thousand Central Government 
troops. Across the Yellow River and along the coast there could 
not be any grouping of Communist troops even remotely com- 
parable to this in size, for any such concentration would have 
been an open invitation to the Japanese to attack frontally in a 
battle they could surely win. 

Communist regulars operated in bands of three to four hundred 
men each. Each band was linked to another band and to head- 
quarters either by telephone or by radio. Each command was 
regional rather than mobile. The various commands pyramided 
into subdistricts and full districts, which were in turn responsible 
to the three original divisional headquarters. The divisional 
headquarters of both the Eighth Route Army and the New 
Fourth Army reported back to the general staff in Yenan, which 
was commanded by Chu Teh. Commanders of the various 
districts and subdistricts flicked their scattered bands about the 
map like a train dispatcher routing express trains. Any number 
of bands could concentrate swiftly for an attack in clusters up 
to fifteen or twenty thousand men and then as quickly dissolve 
and return to their homes. If a Japanese column struck into the 
hills on a foraging or mopping-up operation, spies instantly 
reported its movement to a district headquarters. The com- 
mander studied the enemy's line of march and considered his 
own troop dispositions; he issued orders by radio, telephone, or 
runner, and from the hills and villages a dozen guerrilla bands, 
falling on the enemy's extended columns, would prick and draw 
blood from his flanks like matadors with a bull. These bands 
could not remain concentrated for large operations, because they 
depended on the people of specific localities for support; it was 

195 



impossible to keep striking masses manoeuvrable without" estab- 
lishing dumps of food and ammunition that would have been much 
too tempting to an enemy with vehicles and artillery. Each band 
drew its nourishment from the district in which it lived, not from 
a general supply system. The dispersion of the Communist forces 
was their great strength and also their great weakness. The 
Japanese could not catch enough of them at one time to do any 
harm. The guerrillas had no single industrial or military base 
whose loss would make them vulnerable as a whole. But they 
likewise could not challenge any important Japanese garrison 
post or Japanese control of the railway system defended by earth- 
works and heavy armament. Though they could blunt a Japanese 
spearhead or turn it aside, they could not stop it. 

This army did not know how to handle artillery; it did not 
know how to handle an air corps ; it knew little of modern signal 
corps work, mechanization, or medical practice; its warriors 
could not manoeuvre 'a division in battle. Only one quality made 
it great its fighting spirit. It was a partisan army, and it fought 
with the aid of the people. Its reserves, nationwide, were the min 
ping, the armed militia. Almost all able-bodied peasants belonged 
to the min ping, self-governing local defence groups whose mem- 
bers tilled the soil and fought for it at the same time. The Com- 
munists claimed that some 2,000,000 peasant soldiers scattered 
over the land co-operated with the troops of the Eighth Route 
and New Fourth Armies. These men were armed with the heritage 
of a generation of civil strife. Some had bird guns, others muzzle- 
loaders, the discard of the war-lord armies of previous decades ; 
some were armed with pitchforks, some with knives. Occasionally 
the regulars turned over Japanese tommy guns to the local 
militia, since they could not capture enough ammunition to 
make them an effective regular weapon. The min ping fought by 
themselves or called in regulars for support as Japanese action 
required. Their leaders were chosen from among their own 
number; their knowledge of their own terrain with its hills and 
passes almost made up for the enemy's batteries. 

The Communists indoctrinated and trained these troops in all 
the simple elementary tactics of warfare, and they went on to 
elaborate a unique system of earthy defence. In 1942 they became 
interested in mines; the peasants two years later had lifted mine 
warfare almost to the level of an indigenous national sport. The 
peasants were taught to bring old temple bells and scrap metal to 
196 



local army ordnance depots; there they received the equivalent 
weight in empty metal mine shells, which they filled with black 
powder or more rarely with smokeless powder produced by the 
local government. They made fuses themselves. If metal was 
lacking, they made mines out of porcelain, logs, or rock. The 
peasants sowed the land with death; they laid the mines in circles 
about Japanese garrisons and blockhouses so that when the 
Japanese moved about they might blow themselves to bits. The 
peasants planted mines about their villages; at night they laid 
them along the paths leading in, with only one approach left 
quite clear. The safe path, which was changed each night, was 
known only to the local regular commander and the head of the 
village committee of public safety. The villagers hoarded their 
mines against Japanese drives, and when one of the periodic 
thrusts against them was under way, they would haul out their 
stored destruction and plant it everywhere on the bridges across 
country streams, under steppings tones in brooks, beneath foot- 
paths. They planted mines by the gate in the wall, by the hitch- 
ing posts, in the main square wherever the Japanese might 
gather. The Communist newspapers, little more than local pep 
sheets, encouraged the villagers' ingenuity with every propa- 
ganda trick conceivable, even to publicizing local "mine heroes" 
the way American sports writers nominate home-run kings. 

The regular Eighth Route Army, the peasant militia, and the 
mine fields were supplemented by a native intelligence system 
that gave the Communists total coverage for operations against 
the enemy. A system of road tickets was established, under which 
no man could travel unless his ticket was signed by the proper 
partisan authorities. Child scouts inspected road tickets and 
watched from hilltops for enemy movement. The countryside was 
instantly aware of every moving Japanese, every enemy truck. On 
some of the hills long poles were erected, tufted at the top so that 
from a distance they looked like brooms. When hill sentries saw 
Japanese on the march, they knocked the poles flat, and the low- 
land peasants knew the Japanese were on the way. The village 
mobilization committees were prepared to go into action on the 
instant of alarm. Women and children took to the hills or tunnels; 
each family drove away its livestock to hiding, concealed its grain, 
buried its valuables; self-defence groups armed themselves and 
mined the paths. On the plains of Hopei, where hill cover was 
remote, the war went underground. Peasants began by building 

'97 



tunnels under individual villages; then one village was linked up 
to another. Towards the end of the war the underground chambers, 
connected for miles, twisted and turned in a labyrinth known only 
to the natives; in these caves peasants with rifles were equal to the 
Japanese. 

Major engagements, in which some twenty or thirty thousand 
Communist guerrillas and an equal or greater number of militia- 
men were co-ordinated to resist a Japanese drive, were undertaken 
only under special circumstances. The Communists fought when 
they had an opportunity to surprise a very small group of the 
enemy and to capture more than enough rifles and ammunition 
to make up what they spent in the fray; since Communist armies 
from 1941 on were armed almost solely with captured enemy 
mattriel, the possible yield of capture always had to be calculated 
against the possible expenditure in assault. They fought to protect 
the countryside during its period of greatest weakness, the harvest 
season. This was the favourite raiding season for the Japanese, for 
a successful coup might not only fill their food depots but leave 
the peasantry destitute for months. To prevent this the Com- 
munists had to battle even under unfavourable circumstances to 
protect the peasants as they gathered the crop. They also fought 
when one of their own primary administrative centres were 
threatened; at the heart of each block of liberated territory were 
patches of land that the Communists held inviolate through five 
or six years of guerrilla warfare, and here what little permanent 
administrative machinery they had was installed. 

This military pattern varied somewhat from area to area. Most 
of the information about Communist warfare comes from reports 
on northern China, the domain of the Eighth Route Army, which 
American military observers visited; Communist propaganda 
indicated that much the same form of fighting was carried on in 
central China, where the New Fourth Army functioned, but on a 
more primitive, less elaborate scale. This warfare was an historic 
achievement, but it was obscured by" propaganda, both Kuomin- 
tang and Communist. The Kuomintang elected to hold the official 
thesis that the Communists were not fighting at all, that they were 
in active league with the Japanese, that they were only a terrorist 
coalition ruling the countryside by force. This picture was 
fantastically incorrect and was so easily proved false that almost 
all American observers accepted the Communist version of their 
own war. By and large this version was sound; yet it too was 



stained with overvivid propaganda. The Communists, for 
example, claimed that they held down most of the Japanese 
troops in China and that they bore the main weight of resistance; 
this was untrue. At peak periods of Japanese activity perhaps 
40 per cent of all tne Japanese in China were battling Com- 
munists or garrisoning Communist-held land. But during the 
significant campaigns it was the weary soldiers of the Central 
Government who took the shock, gnawed at the enemy, and died. 
During the-campaigns of 1937-38 or the eastern China campaign 
of 1944 more than 70 per cent of Japanese effort was concentrated 
against the troops of Chiang K'ai-shek and his war-lord allies. 

Communist claims of enemy casualties were nowhere nearly so 
exaggerated as those of the Central Government; yet they could 
not be accepted as accurate. The Communists claimed that they 
had accounted for half a million Japanese casualties. But when 
General Okamura, Japanese commander in chief in China, made 
his report to the Allies after V-J day, he estimated that the 
Japanese had lost less than 50,000 men to the guerrillas. The true 
figure is probably somewhere between the two estimates. Another 
discouraging facet of Communist propaganda was their accounts 
of the incessant clashes between their troops and Central Govern- 
ment troops in the field. The Communists lived and fought by a 
dynamic political philosophy; their entire strength was based on 
organization of hitherto unorganized men. Their expansion and 
their reforms frequently clashed with the vestigial remnants the 
Kuomintang government left behind the Japanese advance. The 
Communists, with the people on the side of their reforms, usually 
won in such clashes. Who attacked whom was never clearly 
known, but invariably each side insisted it was the one under 
assault. The. Communists cried "Wolf, wolf!" at every fray. It 
was easy to understand their intense emotion when you looked 
back on the butchery of the New Fourth Army by the government 
in 1941 ; yet to give credit to it at all times was impossible. In the 
spring of 1945, for example, the Communists launched a huge 
expansion drive southward to the coast; they were in constant 
conflict with the Central Government. Most of the Communist 
expansion was directed against the Japanese, but they fought 
government troops when necessary too, and as they reported 
attacks on themselves in broad new areas of penetration behind 
the Japanese lines, they sounded like the man who claimed he had 
been hit in the fist with the other fellow's eye. 



Many of these clashes expressed not so much military enmity as 
broad political discontent. China had no open forum of dis- 
cussion, no means of rectifying a tangled political problem by 
peaceful discussion in Chungking. In modern China no political 
decision had ever been arrived at without the use or threat of 
armed force. Bullets are ballots in Chinese politics. No Chinese 
group other than the Communists ever dared to arm the people, 
for that meant enabling peasants to rectify their own grievances. 
The Communists, serene in the consciousness of popular support, 
could arm hundreds of thousands and know that the arms would 
not be turned against them. In this sense the Communists were 
a link with the great agrarian revolutions of Chinese history, in 
which arming of the people had always been a prerequisite for 
the overthrow of the old dynasty. 

The old village system and officialdom began to crumble under 
the impact of the Communists' dynamic revolutionary creed. 
When the older local powers called in remnants of Kuomintang 
troops behind the enemy lines to support their dictates, they were 
confronted with armed popular force. The Communists preached 
not only war against Japan but war against the entire past. These 
clashes could not be judged by accepted rules of warfare. Hard and 
bitter men were fighting a civil war. Sometimes the law may have 
been on one side, sometimes on the other, but in a civil war all law 
is in doubt. 

The Communists had reached a new maturity of decision by 
the summer of 1944. Between 1941, when the New Fourth Army 
had been massacred, and 1944, when the great campaign in the 
east exposed .the weakness of the Central Government, their 
attitude towards Chiang K'ai-shek's administration changed from 
fear to contempt. The Communists saw the Kuomintang armies, 
supplied with American guns, gasoline, and vehicles in quantities 
that seemed huge to them, collapsing like straw men before the 
Japanese drive. The tired legions of the Kuomintang seemed ob- 
jects of pity, not enmity. The spontaneous uprising of the peasants 
in Honan against the government convinced the Communists 
that the Chungking regime was a ramshackle structure whose 
days were numbered. 

Negotiations between the Central Government and the Com- 
munists began anew in the spring of 1944. The Communists 
appeared in Chungking this time not as beggars but as proud 
200 



ambassadors of a powerful armed movement. Their arrogance 
shocked the government negotiators, who had expected that the 
years of blockade would have worn them down. The government 
had expected chastened, respectful men, grateful for what few 
crumbs could be spared from Chungking's lean tables. The 
Kuomintang negotiators were astounded by what the Com- 
munists presented as a fitting basis for negotiations. "They seem 
to forget/* one government spokesman said plaintively, "that 
after all we are the government." 

The Communist demands of the summer of 1944 were far- 
reaching. Among them were these points : 

1 . The Central Government should give supplies to and recog- 
nize sixteen Communist divisions in the field. 

2. The government should release all political prisoners. 

3. The Communist Party and other minority parties should be 
granted legal status, and their classification as outlaws should cease. 

4. A coalition government should be established in which they 
and other minority parties might participate. 

5. The government should recognize the legitimacy of all the 
"liberated" regions as popularly elected governments. 

Nonpartisan opinion held these Communist demands to be well 
justified on the whole except for the last. 1 The Communist-con- 
trolled liberated regions spread all over the Yellow River basin 
and the entire lower Yangtze from Shanghai through Nanking to 
Canton. To recognize these governments would reduce the 
Kuomintang to a secondary power in the land; it would mean that 
when peace came, the Communists would be in control of the 
richest, most highly developed areas of the coast, while the 
Kuomintang would still be locked in the hinterland. 

It was probable, however, that the Communists had advanced 
the last demand for bargaining purposes in order to gain their 

J Nonpartisan opinion, both Chinese and foreign, usually favoured the 
Communists in their great debates with the Kuomintang. The reason for this 
was simple. The Central Government until 1944 forbade any journalist or 
observer to travel in Communist territory; it insisted that its own version of 
the Communist problem be fully accepted. It denounced the Communists 
with its every resource of vituperation. The standing Communist reply to 
government charges was an invitation to all journalists to come and visit their 
areas of operation and see for themselves whether the charges were true or 
false. With one party to a dispute refusing permission for independent in- 
vestigation of its charges and the other party inviting it, public opinion almost 
invariably sides with the group inviting investigation. 

201 



more immediate and pressing desires and that they stood ready 
to yield halfway. Indeed, in the following year they did abandon 
their claim to the Yangtze Valley. The bargaining, which began 
hi' May 1944, broke down in late summer. By that time it was 
evident that any solution within China must await a solution of 
China's relations with America and Chinese- American relations 
were mounting to the Stilwell crisis. 



CHAPTER 14 
THE STILWELL CRISIS 

BY MIDSUMMER OF 1944 the crisis within China was pressing 
insufferably on American policy. What was happening in China 
was so vastly complicated, so intertwined with America's own 
grand strategy of war, that it had become a matter of primary 
concern in our own statecraft. The two men who represented 
America in China in 1944 were General Joseph W. Stilwell and 
Ambassador Clarence Gauss. Both men had spent the most im- 
portant years of their lives in China and had been in intimate 
contact with its daily affairs since 1941 ; by the summer of 1944 
both had come to substantially the same conclusion about the 
situation in China, 

Their conclusion was this : The crisis in the field could not be 
solved by American aid alone, however necessary that might be. 
The military crisis was in their eyes only the end result of an al- 
most total breakdown of principle, administration, and policy in 
the Chungking government. Since America was supporting the 
Chinese government at huge expense, since American lives were 
at stake, since any revival of China was conditioned by increased 
American aid and supply, both Gauss and Stilwell felt that 
America was justified in demanding sweeping reforms within 
China in the name of the joint war against the Japanese. To make 
any effective use of what America could give and was giving, the 
Chinese government had to achieve some minimum level of 
efficiency and decency. 

Chiang K'ai-shek could only partly endorse this American con- 
clusion. He needed American support desperately, and he was 
willing to yield to America on paper on any specific charge or any 
specific administrative demand. But to reform in the American 

202 



sense meant that his government would have to draw support from 
the people, Communist, Kuomintang, or nonpartisan. It meant 
that the government would have to purify itself by purging the 
corrupt officers and decadent landed gentry who, though they 
were a drag on the nation's energy, supported Chiang personally. 
Chiang wished to associate America with himself in a scheme of 
balances concession against promise, piecemeal reform against 
piecemeal aid. For two years just such an association had existed. 
Now the Americans wanted an end of haggling and bargaining, 
a reform at the heart that would transform the Chinese govern- 
ment into an efficient ally. 

Stilwell had arrived at his final conviction after years of the most 
discouraging, grief-cursed attempts to co-operate with the Chinese 
general staff. Slowly and painfully each individual American 
requirement had to be wrung from the depths of Chinese re- 
luctance. This half-hearted co-operation shackled progress. 
StilwelPs frame of reference was the over-all war against Japan; 
Ho Yingch'in's one frame of reference was support and defence of 
the Kuomintang regime. Thus in 1942 Stilwell had seen nothing 
incongruous in his request that the Chinese Communists be sent 
to fight the Japanese in Burma, but to Ho Ying-ch'in and the 
Chinese government the movement of Communists across the 
country threatened the opening of Pandora's box. No decisions 
could be made, no troops transferred, no promotions effected, no 
supplies sent, without reference to the tangled political feuds 
within the army and the government. 

Stilwell wanted to clean out the deadwood, the incompetent, 
and the corrupt from the command. It was impossible to fight the 
Japanese with an army so sick and hungry, so shockingly led and 
brutally mistreated as the Chinese soldiery of 1944. In Burma, 
Stilwell had taken the dross of the troops left from the campaign 
of 1942 and hammered them into the metal of war; his technique 
had been brutally simple but sound beyond any challenge. He had 
fed, armed, trained, and clothed them, and the Chinese officers 
of the army in northern Burma had come to understand the use 
of a modern supply system and had learned the craft of aggressive 
leadership. Stilwell had taken these troops into the jungle, given 
them personal leadership, and confirmed them in victory and 
confidence. For two years he had tried to develop within the 
greater mass of the Chinese army in its own country an elite 
similar to the corps he had forged in Burma. He had had to 

203 



bargain at every step, with indifferent success, for paper agree- 
ment to what was indisputably necessary, and even when com- 
mitments were reduced to paper, little resulted in deed. 

The Chinese had agreed even before Pearl Harbour to permit 
Americans to train an army of thirty divisions in modern methods 
and techniques, but they did not even designate the divisions on 
paper for eight months after the agreement was made. They 
promised Stilwell men of first-class physique for his campaigns of 
attack in Burma and on the Salween; 50 per cent of the miserable, 
crippled, undernourished men sent to the American depots had 
to be rejected at their first medical examinations. Though the 
Chinese had promised enough troops to keep Stilwell's assault 
divisions up to strength, he was thousands short in Burma, tens 
of thousands short on the Salween, in the fall of 1944. Stilwell had 
demanded in 1942 an adequate diet for at least those units of the 
Chinese army that were at the front. Eighteen months later his 
urgings had resulted only in the addition of a pound of meat and 
several pounds of beans a month to the rice-and-salt diet of the 
Chinese troops, and even this improvement was limited to a few 
select divisions on the Salween. 

The Americans sought Chiang K'ai-shek's permission to send 
a military intelligence team to Yenan. The military information 
that the Communists had was vital to the over-all war against 
Japan. The Communists controlled 90,000,000 people, their in- 
formation network ran beyond the gates of Manchuria, and their 
knowledge of Japanese troop dispositions and movements was 
invaluable to our own military security. It was a full year before 
the Kuomintang, in the summer of 1944, finally consented to the 
establishment of an American military observation mission in 
Yenan. 

All of these and dozens of small matters formed the substance 
of repeated ill-tempered, patience-wearing bouts of bargaining 
between Chinese and Americans. By the summer of 1944, with 
the military crisis at its highest pitch, it was obvious that no 
solution for the increasingly desperate situation could be found 
through the routine channels of bargain and compromise. Quick 
decisions were required, and Stilwell had decided that he could 
fulfil his function only if he had the same sweeping authority of 
command over Chinese troops in China that he possessed and 
utilized successfully in the jungles of Burma. 

While Stilwell was forming his conclusions from experience with 
204 



the machinery of Chinese military administration, Ambassador 
Gauss had been arriving at similar fundamental conclusions from 
experience with Chinese politics. Gauss resembled Stilwell in 
many respects. He was blunt and outspoken; he had a contempt 
for shams and forms; his apparent tartness concealed an inner 
shyness. These qualities seemed unfortunate; Chinese sought 
comfort and warmth from America. The ambassador, they felt, 
should be like one bearing fruits and sympathy to a sickbed; they 
wished to be cherished and sustained, for they were suffering. Gauss 
offered them instead the cold, intelligent aid of a skilful surgeon 
who knows the knife must be applied before recovery can begin. 

The political situation to which the ambassador addressed him- 
self was a complete deadlock between the government and the 
Communists. Those who had the Generalissimo's ear were zealots 
who had made a career out of their hatred of the Communists. 
While Stilwell pleaded for more troops to fight the Japanese, 
politics kept twenty divisions of the finest government armies 
inactive in the north to guard the blockade about the Com- 
munist base area. A black censorship suppressed all criticism of the 
government; secret police silenced the voices of protest. The 
screen of censorship sheltered the triumvirate of Ch'en Li-fu, 
Ho Ying-ch'in, and H. H. Kung, impervious to attack; anyone 
who dared suggest they be removed was labelled a tool of Com- 
munist or Japanese propaganda. Meanwhile honest men in 
government administration were being devoured by inflation. 
Salaries of officials remained fixed, and the exiles of Chungking 
found themselves trapped between skyrocketing prices and semi- 
static salaries. Prices stood at 500 times their prewar level and 
were still rising. Planes hauled bales of banknotes, printed in 
America, across the Hump by the ton, and the government 
pumped the new currency into circulation at the rate of 
$5,000,000,000 Chinese a month. All this affected American 
policy. Within one year, while prices tripled, government pro- 
ductive bureaux were limited to budget increases of only 20 per 
cent. The ordnance department of the Chinese army found it 
easier and cheaper to get copper from American Lend-Lease, 
airborne over the Hump, than to purchase it from the govern- 
ment's own factories within a hundred miles of the armament 
plants. Government steel plants were operating at only 20 per 
cent of capacity, because army arsenals could not afford to buy 
the finished steel for conversion into arms. 



205 



Through the summer of 1944 the American Embassy kept 
pressing matters that seemed undebatable a clean and vigorous 
administration, unity, thorough-going reform. The American 
Embassy already foresaw the bitterness that was to mature the 
next year in full-fledged civil war. It urged Chiang to create a 
representative government for China to express the will of all 
groups and all parties, to let fresh air into the close atmosphere of 
its one-party dictatorship. Shrewdly assessing America's own self- 
interest, Gauss urged Chiang to come to some sort of friendly 
agreement with the Russians in order that China itself might not 
become a bone of contention in some future Russian-American 
rivalry. The pleadings of Gauss and Stilwell fell on deaf ears. 

In August 1944 President Roosevelt packaged all the problems 
of China into a neat bundle and handed it to the famous Hurley- 
Nelson mission. This, mission had sweeping presidential authority 
to consider every detail of the China crisis. Both men were 
Roosevelt's personal emissaries. Donald Nelson was to offer the 
donkey a carrot to make it move, while Patrick J. Hurley was to 
push it from behind. Nelson was a one-man comfort corps offering 
a blueprint for the future that seemed one step short of Paradise. 
He was to survey China's war industries and her economic 
structure, devise ways and means of increasing production, find 
out what American supplies China needed, determine how 
American technical specialists could be best used, and investigate 
possibilities of postwar trade and investment. He was eminently 
suited for the task. Hurley, a wealthy lawyer from Oklahoma, 
had the far more difficult assignment of harmonizing relations 
between Chiang and Stilwell, securing the appointment of Stilwell 
as commander in chief of all the Chinese armies, and settling the 
political deadlock between the Communists and the Central 
Government; it was a stupendous order. 

.The two arrived in Chungking early in September 1944 with 
a minimum of ceremony. Both were tired by their long trip from 
the States, and they were whisked away to a new and sumptuously 
appointed residence specially prepared for them, where the ex- 
cook of Shanghai's finest hotel stood ready to serve them. That 
evening Stilwell, Gauss, Hurley, and Nelson conferred for an hour 
and a half, with Gauss analysing the complex China situation. 
Gauss was to accompany Hurley and Nelson to their first inter- 
view with the Generalissimo the next day, which proved a 
206 



rousing success. Hurley assured the Generalissimo that the 
American government stood behind Chiang personally all the 
way and that the mission had been sent simply to aid him and 
China. The Generalissimo liked Hurley immediately, and a 
friendship was born. 

The accelerating demoralization in eastern China lent urgency 
to the demands of the American emissaries. Chiang K'ai-shek was 
desperate for supply and support. Both Nelson and Hurley as- 
sured him that American aid would be forthcoming in greater 
quantities than ever before; all they required was Chiang's assent 
to certain new formulas. Within a fortnight the Generalissimo had 
accepted Stilwell as commander in chief of all Chinese armies and 
signified his acceptance by a formal letter to Stilwell. The grant 
of authority to Stilwell was sweeping; it gave authority to promote 
and demote, reward and punish, transfer and reorganize troops, 
all as he saw fit. The Generalissimo explained that from now on, 
as commander in chief of all armies in China, Stilwell's work 
would probably be 60 per cent military and 40 per cent political. 
At last it seemed as if all Chinese soldiers, Communist and 
Kuomintang, war lord and guerrilla, were to be streamlined under 
one co-ordinated control. 

The grant of authority was made in mid-September during the 
week of breakthrough north of Kweilin, and Stilwell promptly 
flew to Kweilin to survey the disaster. He decided to blow all but 
one air strip at Kweilin and to use the last remaining bomber 
runway until the last moment to fly supplies to the defending 
troops who were digging in for a final stand. To Stilwell with his 
new authority the field of battle seemed charged with hope. He 
conferred with the commander of the Kweilin area, General 
Chang Fa-kwei. General Chang consented, with only one 
condition, to a final summoning of energies for a counter attack 
to disorganize the Japanese before their ultimate assault on 
Kweilin. The condition was that Stilwell should return to the 
scene of operation, supervise it personally, and by showing him- 
self to the unhappy, beaten Chinese troops inspire them to a 
supreme effort. Stilwell, consenting, hurried back to Chungking 
to confer with the Chinese high command before entering 
directly into the fray. 

On the flight Stilwell pondered the problems of the campaign 
and composed a general memorandum outlining measures not 
only for the immediate crisis about Kweilin but for general 

207 



reorganization of the Chinese armies. The note was not meant to 
be diplomatic; it was a military document conceived in the 
urgency of a brutal campaign and intended for immediate 
execution, the first real evidence of what command by an 
American could mean. To the Chinese, who had expected a 
diplomatic, gradual approach to the problems of command, 
Stilwell's language was as startling as a bucket of cold water. 
Their sense of affront at its bluntness blocked recognition of the 
soundness of the plan. A few days later, while the Chinese were 
still considering Stilwell's pressing proposals, a message arrived 
from Washington with Roosevelt's signature. Stilwell was ordered 
to deliver the message to Chiang K'ai-shek in person. 

That evening the Generalissimo was entertaining Hurley and 
Nelson at his country estate. Stilwell was announced and in- 
formed the Generalissimo that he had a message from President 
Roosevelt. Hurley, Stilwell, and the Generalissimo withdrew to 
another room, and without a word of explanation Stilwell handed 
Chiang a Chinese translation of Roosevelt's note. It was believed 
to have been the harshest document that had been delivered to 
Chiang in three years of alliance, and to have contained an un- 
tempered demand for immediate and sweeping reform and action 
to cope with the military crisis. Chiang read the message in stony 
silence, with his knee trembling nervously. Some desultory 
conversation followed, in which Stilwell mentioned certain minor 
administrative details and skirted perilously around the burden 
of the message itself. Stilwell left shortly in an atmosphere of frigid 
formality while Chiang privately indulged in one of his famous 
rages. He declared to his intimates that he did not need America; 
if need be, he could go along on his own without American aid. 
The Generalissimo's wrath was incandescent. 

For a few days conversations hung suspended. The Japanese 
closed about Kweilin. The campaigns on the Salween and in 
northern Burma stuttered along on pure momentum. All things 
waited upon decision in Chungking. What went on within the 
mind of Chiang K'ai-shek is a matter of purest speculation. For 
years he had disliked Stilwell. He had seen in Stilwell's creation of 
a new Chinese army in Burma the erection of a machine that 
threatened the nature of his control. Stilwell's handling of Lend- 
Lease had annoyed him; to Chiang, Lend-Lease was a gift that 
he knew best how to use, but Stilwell insisted on wringing out of 
Lend-Lease and out of his own control of the American air force 
208 



the last possible ounce of concession from the Chinese staff. In 
Chiang's eyes America was a generous comrade nation. 
Roosevelt was friendly; Madame Chiang had come back from 
Washington in triumph. Hurley and Chennault were both close 
to his heart. The chief shadow on Chinese-American relations, 
for Chiang, must have been Stilwell's personality. 

Chiang was fully aware of Stilwell's popularity not only with 
Chinese liberals but with the Communists. Stilwell's repeated 
pressure for use of the Communist armies against Japan and for 
the ending of the blockade seemed to Chiang to be part of a 
political plot to undermine his government. He had given Stilwell 
command of the Chinese armies, and now Stilwell presented him 
first with a harsh document calling for total overhaul of his 
military machine and next with a note from Washington that 
seemed outrageous. To Chiang the note signed by Roosevelt must 
have seemed like the handiwork of Stilwell himself, the ultimate 
twisting of the knife. It was obvious that Stilwell in command 
meant not only a new army but a new China. Chiang had made 
paper promises for years ; now they were to be shoved down his 
throat. It was true that only a few days before he had consented to 
StilweU's command, but now, in his inmost heart, he found that he 
could not go through with it. His own word had to be repudiated. 

When the Generalissimo's reply came, it was transmitted to 
Hurley for communication to the United States government. It 
was sharp and to the point. He was through with Stilwell not only 
as commander in chief but in any capacity whatsoever in China. 
The original agreement had been made, the Generalissimo said, 
when he believed that the American proposition called for 
Stilwell's appointment to command under himself as chief of 
state. "All this ended/' said the note, " when it was made manifest 
to me that General Stilwell had no intention of co-operating with 
me but believed in fact that he was appointed to command over 
me." So much for his word as chief of state. The note struck 
consternation into the American negotiators. Stilwell was urgent 
for settling at some lesser level he knew that the Philippine 
landing was scheduled within a month and that /high strategy 
required China to exert the utmost pressure from the continent 
in order to reduce the pressure MacArthur would encounter. 
Stilwell wanted action. He suggested that the Communist issue be 
dropped entirely from the conversations, that both Americans 
and Chinese concentrate on creating a limited but efficient 
He 209 



striking force of Central Government troops in the south-west. 
Chiang was adamant; he would not budge in his request for 
Stilwell's removal. 

At this point a completely unexpected twist was given to the 
entire negotiations. Daddy Kung was in America at that time, 
and in his usual well-meaning way and with his usual maladroit 
administrative genius he entered the crisis. At a dinner party he 
had met and chatted with Harry Hopkins; he asked what 
Roosevelt planned to do about Stilwell. Whatever Hopkins said, 
Kung understood him to have replied that if Chiang insisted, the 
President would remove Stilwell. Kung pounced on this juicy 
morsel of good news and cabled it with instant speed to 
Chungking. The negotiations had been a well-kept secret in 
Chungking, and not even the highest circles of the Kuomintang 
understood how bitter the deadlock had grown. But now the 
Generalissimo, feeling that he had won, summoned the Standing 
Committee of the Kuomintang and unburdened himself. He in- 
formed them that he had agreed to have an American commander 
in chief in China, because China could trust America, but that 
under no circumstances would he permit that commander in 
chief to be General Stilwell; if America insisted, he would go it 
alone, retreating farther into the mountains with his loyal 
divisions before the Japanese advance. 

The Standing Committee met regularly in strictest secrecy on 
Monday afternoons. It usually took anywhere from three days to 
a week before their discussions leaked about, but the electric 
revelation of the Generalissimo's willingness to break with 
America over Stilwell flashed about town with unprecedented 
swiftness. By evening the American Embassy whose in- 
formation, under Gauss, was swift and highly accurate had 
heard the story and informed the negotiators of it. It was bad 
news, for if the Generalissimo had committed himself irrevocably 
to his inner circle, he could not retract without ruindtis loss of 
prestige. The Americans frantically wired Washington for con- 
firmation or denial of the Hopkins story. Hopkins wired back 
that he had been misquoted; he had informed Kung that before 
Roosevelt took any action on Stilwell, he would have to consult 
carefully with General George Marshall. But it was too late; too 
many people in the Chinese government knew that the 
Generalissimo had committed himself on the Stilwell matter, and 
nothing could make him change his mind. 

210 



Roosevelt tried to compromise. He yielded on America's 
demand for Stilwell's appointment as commander in chief and 
requested only that Stilwell should be given whatever support 
was necessary for opening the Burma Road, and should not be 
removed from China. Hurley delivered the message, which was 
received in stony silence. Chiang could not be moved. He had 
two points: first, so long as he was head of the state there could be 
no question about his right to remove any officer from China; 
and second, he no longer reposed confidence in Stilwell's military 
judgment. According to Chiang, Stilwell had drained China dry 
of man-power and resources for the Salween-Burma campaign, 
while eastern China fell without support ; Stilwell had been absent 
from China too long and derelict in his duties as chief of staff. 
Later Hurley repeated Chiang's remarks to one of the authors as 
if he believed them. Stilwell's defence against Chiang's charges 
could not be made public, but it was unchallengeable. 

First, it was true that a request for appointment of a foreigner 
as commander in chief of China's armies was a breach of China's 
sovereignty. But Chiang had made no objection to this violation of 
sovereignty so long as he felt it would result in strengthening his 
position within China; he objected only after it became clear that 
Americanization of his army meant an end to the system of 
bureaucracy and corruption that controlled it. It was impossible 
to clean up the Chinese army without eventually cleaning up 
Chinese politics; Chiang was not great enough to do the task 
himself or to permit others to do it. 

Second, it was true that Stilwell had concentrated great forces 
for the prosecution of the Burma-Salween campaign. But in 
China there existed only two strategic concentrations of man- 
power that might have furnished enough strength to slow or halt 
the Japanese drive in eastern China. One army was engaged on 
the Salween against the Japanese; the other, in the north, was 
guarding the Communist blockade. Both were at the command 
of the Central Government, but the maintenance of the Com- 
munist blockade was a project much nearer to Chiang's heart 
than the opening of the Burma Road. In Stilwell's eyes there 
seemed no justification for stopping the campaign on the Salween, 
where troops were advancing in success against the Japanese, to 
permit Chiang the political luxury of venting his spite on the 
Communists by holding a huge reserve useless in the north. 
Setting the Communist blockade at higher priority than fighting 

211 



the Japanese seemed an absurdity that could result only in disaster 
as it did. 

These were the inner arguments of the Stilwell case, but by 
mid-October the issue had been so badly handled in negotiation 
that Roosevelt no longer had any choice; it had to be either 
Chiang K'ai-shek or Stilwell. Reluctantly he decided that Stilwell 
must go. A fore-warning message arrived on Monday, October 
1 6, telling Stilwell that the President would probably be forced to 
relieve him. On Wednesday, the eighteenth, Stilwell and Chiang 
K'ai-shek were both informed that Stilwell had been relieved of 
command and was to depart immediately for America, that there 
would be no American commander in chief for Chinese troops, 
that the CBI no longer existed. Henceforth the China theatre and 
the India-Burma theatre were to be two distinct entities, and the 
commander of American forces in the China theatre would be 
General A. C. Wedemeyer. General Wedemeyer was to be also 
chief of staff to Chiang K'ai-shek. 

On Friday aftefnoon the Generalissimo sent a messenger to tell 
General Stilwell he was being awarded the highest Chinese 
military decoration; Stilwell bluntly refused it. The Generalissimo 
invited him to tea; Stilwell accepted. The two sat stiffly together 
for a short while, the Generalissimo murmuring politenesses and 
Stilwell laconically replying in the same tone. The next morning 
was cold and grim. Scarcely half a dozen Americans in Chungking 
realized what had been happening or that Stilwell was leaving for 
good. Stilwell packed his bags, his Japanese samurai sword, his 
brief-case. At the field General Hurley and T. V. Soong stood 
waiting beside a muddy limousine to say good-bye. A Chinese 
touring car rolled across the runway, and General Ho Ying-ch'in 
popped out; he saluted; Stilwell returned the salute^ Soong and 
Hurley made curt farewells, and as their car splashed off through 
the muck, the pilot revved the plane engines. Stilwell climbed 
aboard. He looked out at the dark grey skies. "What are we 
waiting for?" he said, and the door slammed. 

The plane trundled through the sticky ruts to the end of the 
runway, where it halted for a few minutes. The field was bare; 
clouds hung thick over the mountains. A lone figure in American 
uniform at one end of the runway was waving at the plane. The 
pilot gave the engine the gun, and the plane picked up speed with 
what seemed exaggerated slowness. At the end of the runway it 
lifted into the air, dipped over the Yangtze, circled the control 

212 



tower, and disappeared into the mists. It stopped that night on an 
airfield by the Salween; next morning it was gone. 

Stilwell had left China. Ambassador Gauss soon followed. 

For the rest of the war, America's concern in China was 
politics, not warfare. And politics meant simply an effort to under- 
stand and co-operate with the leaders of Yenan. 



CHAPTER i 5 
POLITICS IN YENAN 

You CAME DOWN on Yenan from the air, over the roof 
of North China, after endless miles of topless loess hills whose 
weathered contours were graced by gentle yellow and brown 
fields. Within the vast monotony of these semi-arid hills, whose 
arroyos and gulches ran crazily to the horizon, three canyons 
came together in a slender green flatland. From the air it had 
the look of a bandit's lair, hidden in the inaccessible fastnesses 
of the hills, with a note of incongruity touched in by a T'ang 
pagoda perched atop a low peak, yellow and incredibly lovely 
against the blue sky. If you came to it 'by land through the block- 
ade, two days by truck or five days by horse, the place seemed no 
different from hundreds of other county seats in northern China, 
except perhaps that it was much cleaner and its people moved 
with unaccustomed snap and vigour. Its sights were familiar 
pack animals with red tassels over their heads, tufted camels from 
the desert, people padded in thick garments, the thick, choking 
loess dust of the northland. The atmosphere was different from 
Chungking; it was dry and sparkling in summer, frigid but 
exhilarating in winter. 

Yenan was a confusing place. A substratum of 30,000 of its 
people were native to it; their forefathers had lived there time 
out of mind. They ate the same foods, spoke the same dialects, 
wore the same clothes, as all northern Chinese. But there was 
something more that did not belong to China at all; the people 
were ruddier, healthier, and the proportion of young to old was 
striking. There was bustle and excitement, pitched to the sound 
of shrill bugles echoing and rebounding from the hills at dawn in 
silver clarity. The confusion could be resolved only by deciding 
that Yenan was not a political capital, nor an experimental 

213 



station in politics, nor a Chinese county seat, but a camp, a field 
headquarters, a provisional command post, ready to be struck 
and moved on the morrow. This camp centred about two main 
groups of buildings, the headquarters of the Communist Party and 
the headquarters of the Communist army. Party headquarters 
were tucked away beneath the hills in two large buildings of grey 
brick; the senior officers of the party all except Mao Tse-tung 
made their homes in clean whitewashed caves nearby. Army 
headquarters were located in an old compound, surrounded by 
gardens of limpid loveliness, a few hundred yards from the Yen 
River. These two headquarters were the directing brains of the 
entire Communist movement. Out of them sped the directives 
that agitated, trained, and moulded the I2,ooo-odd party 
members who lived and worked in caves that studded the slopes 
of the hills for miles about the town; out of these headquarters 
came commands ^nd guidance that reached from Manchuria to 
Canton, from Hankow to Shanghai, to mobilize the millions of 
peasants who formed the base of the movement. 

The leaders of the Communist Party were a highly interesting 
group. They could be studied only from the outside, for what 
went on in their inner councils was a tight secret. Their primary 
characteristic was their sense of unity. They had been fighting 
together for twenty years, against the Kuomintang and then 
against the Japanese; their families had been tortured, murdered, 
lost. They had been subjected to every form of police espionage 
and suppression. The weak had fallen; the faint of heart had 
surrendered. Those who were left were tough as leather, hard as 
iron ; they trusted one another and hung together in a unity that 
showed no fissure of factionalism. What disputes they had were 
locked within themselves ; not even the vast majority of party mem- 
bers knew who opposed whom in the all-highest Political Bureau. 

The leaders had the character of an 61ite. They were cocky, 
some of them arrogant. No such burden of politics and ad- 
ministration as plagued the harassed officials of Chungking 
weighed them down. Conversations with them were pleasantly 
unhurried sessions; they reflected on policy for meditative hours, 
and when interviewed, they might talk on and on about any 
particular point of theory that struck them as important. They 
were above the tangle of paper work; they thought for the long 
range, while trusted juniors executed their decisions. These 
leaders lived with little of the ostentation of Chungking's topmost 
214 



officials, though they had cleaner homes and better food than the 
rank and file. They made no fetish of equalitarianism. Here was 
no such vast gulf as separated a Chungking cabinet minister from 
his shivering, threadbare office clerk; but physical distinctions of 
comfort and convenience were accepted as needing no comment 
or justification. 

Though the leaders were recognized and accepted as the 61ite, 
they prided themselves on their democracy, and they hewed out 
for themselves a code of manners to match their professions. Party 
policy had decreed a production drive after the Kuomintang 
blockade in 1941 to make the Yenan area self-sufficient. Peasants 
had been urged to expand their sowing and harvesting. All 
government officials and party members were expected to culti- 
vate land in order to raise their own food and lift the burden of 
their support from the local peasants. This drive had been 
superlatively successful, and the party and its functionaries lived 
not on taxes but on the sweat of their own brow. Mao Tse-tung 
tended a tobacco patch; before the war he had smoked cheap 
Chinese cigarettes, but now, to keep himself in smokes, he toiled 
at his tobacco plants and raised enough for all party headquarters. 
Chu Teh, the commander in chief, grew cabbages. Most of the 
senior leaders prided themselves on their approachability. Mao, 
it is true, lived in a suburb several miles beyond the town and was 
exalted above ordinary mortals. But the others dealt casually with 
all comers. At the regular Saturday evening dances at Com- 
munist army headquarters, where music was supplied by a sad 
collection of horns, paper-covered combs, and native string 
instruments, Chu Teh sedately waltzed about with little office 
girls, and the burly chief of staff, Yeh Chien-ying, gaily accepted 
invitations to two-step from any maiden who had enough pluck 
to ask him. 

These simple, earthy men did not look like any terrible threat to 
Chungking and world stability. But when you examined their 
thinking and listened to their conversation, you found a stubborn, 
irreducible realism. The first thing you noticed was their know- 
ledge of China. They knew their own country thoroughly and 
understood the villages. They were engineers of social relation- 
ships, and they knew precisely what the peasants' grievances were 
and precisely how. those grievances could be transmuted into 
action. They based their strength on the peasant, and no matter 
how discursive or theoretical their Marxist dogmas might be, they 

215 



always wound up with certain basic conclusions that could be 
translated into ideas the most illiterate peasant would understand 
and accept as his own. 

Their ignorance of the outside world was sometimes shocking, 
They knew little of high finance, protocol, or Western administra- 
tion; their understanding of industry, Western engineering, and 
international commerce was primitive. They knew Western 
history only as interpreted by Marxist classics. One of them, for 
example, in tracing an analogy between China and America, 
asked me whether or not America had had electric lighting at the 
time of the American Revolution. But they knew down to the last 
detail the impact of the Western world on China and how they 
planned to harness the energy and technology of the West for the 
benefit of the peasant. 

They were smug. Chungking had expected them to wither away 
when the blockade was imposed in 1941; instead they had 
survived, and by 1944, when I visited Yenan, they were physically 
and mentally sounder than the Chungking leaders. They were so 
completely sure that their way was perfect that they found it 
difficult to ascribe any valour or ability to the officials or the 
soldiers of Chungking. They glowed with self-confidence; there 
was always a slight tinge of sanctimoniousness in their speech. 
You were reminded sometimes of the religious summer camps 
where people go about clapping each other on the back in rousing 
pious good-fellowship. 

Mao Tse-tung's personality dominated Yenan. Mao was a 
short, stocky Hunanese with a round, unlined, curiously serene 
face, which, however, was more vivid and more given to broad 
smiles than the disciplined countenance of Chiang K'ai-shek. Mao 
drew his audiences to him with an almost conversational tone 
asking questions, making earthy puns, gesticulating. There was 
no formal hierarchy among the Communists, but Mao was set on 
a pinnacle of adoration. His unchallenged grip on the party was 
more intimate and more difficult to define than the grip Chiang 
K'ai-shek had on his zealots. It was due in parfrto a solid affection, 
in part to unchallenged intellectual pre-eminence. He had led the 
Communist Party for almost twenty years, trudged with the heroes 
of the Long March from Southern China in 1 935, suffered with the 
party in the years of hunger. Like Chiang, Mao had something of 
the teacher in him, and the party regarded him as an oracle. His 
leadership had brought the party from a ragged underground to 
216 



huge power in war and international affairs. His leadership was 
theoretical, but the theories he expounded made sense, and they 
succeeded in the field. 

It was dogma in Yenan that Mao was merely the senior among 
his comrades, first among equals, that his voice in council bore 
weight only because it was the wisest. Actually, however, Mao was 
an emotional symbol, and his will was perhaps even more 
dominant in the Communist Party than Chiang's in the Kuomin- 
tang. At public meetings it was not unusual for other members of 
the Political Bureau, men of great rank themselves, to make 
ostentatious notes on Mao's free-running speeches as if drinking 
from the fountain of knowledge. Nor were panegyrics of the most 
high-flown, almost nauseatingly slavish eloquence unusual. 
Definitely second in the party was Chu Teh, commander in chief 
of the Red armies. Mao and Chu were linked by decades of friend- 
ship and common struggles; among the Communists there was no 
doubt that Mao came first. 

The Communist Party, like the Kuomintang, had a skeletal 
similarity to the Russian Communist Party, on which both had 
been modelled. Theoretically the supreme organ of the party was 
a national congress, which chose an executive committee, which in 
turn chose the Political Bureau, in practice the top council of all. 
The Communist Party had had no national congress since 1928. 
Since then the Communists had been hunted and driven about 
by the Kuomintang and the Japanese so that no elections could 
be held. The central executive committee met rarely, and 
direction of the party lay in the hands of the Political Bureau. 
This bureau was dominated by the imposing personality of Mao. 
It included also Chu Teh, the soldier commander; Chou En-lai, 
the brilliant and tempestuous insurrectionary who was am- 
bassador to the Central Government in Chungking; and Liu 
Hsiao-ch'i, a man little known to the outside world, who was 
general secretary of the party and a shrewd, hard-working 
administrator. Other thinkers and executives were also included 
in Yenan's council of senior statesmen. A much sharper distinction 
was made between policy and administration in Yenan than in 
Chungking. The Political Bureau made the critical decisions 
governing economic policy, attitudes towards the Central Govern- 
ment, and foreign policy; and the smoothly co-ordinated organs 
of the party and the army unquestioningly executed these de- 
cisions. Yenan was a huge laboratory to which students and 
Hi 217 



enthusiasts brought their best ideas; in the hill caves the party 
hammered these ideas into national policy, moulded the talents 
into organizing ability, and pumped both ideas and personnel 
back into the field. It was estimated that the Communists at Yenan 
had trained some 40,000 young men and women by 1944. 

Yenan insisted that it was a functioning democracy. Ad- 
ministratively, freedom of criticism and discussion was practically 
unlimited. Anyone could attack the improper carrying out of an 
accepted directive, the blunders of civilian or military officials. 
In fact the Communists indulged periodically in orgies of self- 
purification, when they would examine each of their own sins 
with a magnifying glass. They beat their chests in pledges of self- 
improvement, wore sackcloth and ashes for their blunders. In the 
field this freedom of administrative criticism created the most 
democratic system of government the villagers had ever known. 
Local councils could answer their complaints and wants, and for 
the first time they were full citizens in a community. High Com- 
munist policy was something else again. The Political Bureau 
handed down high policy after the leaders had argued it out, and 
Yenan made no criticism. Unanimity on policy was total in 
Yenan a stark contrast to Chungking, where Communist papers 
guardedly criticized the government and independent papers 
delighted in slipping one over on the censors. There was only one 
newspaper at Yenan. No one grumbled loudly, at least to 
foreigners, about what the government should or should not do. 
Every now and then the local newspaper threw its columns open 
to bitter analysis by party members that highlighted flaws in party 
policy and conduct, but there was none of the critical atmosphere 
of Chungking, where the cynical, civilized bureaucrats of the 
Kuomintang gossiped and picked each other to pieces constantly. 

Yenan's unanimity of spirit could be judged as you wished. One 
explanation was that Yenan stressed action, not politics; people 
kept so busy at their work that they had little time for political 
disputation. Communist sympathizers claimed that the un- 
animity came from total agreement, but few systems of govern- 
ment are so perfect that they evoke total accord spontaneously. 
Cynicism is an essential part of politics, and when it is missing, 
something of the savour of freedom is also lacking. The Kuomin- 
tang claimed that Yenan's unity was totalitarian, that Yenan 
operated with secret police, with concentration camps, with all 
the other apparatus that the Kuomintang possessed itself but 
ai8 



denied possessing. I could find no evidence of any such machinery 
of oppression in Yenan; I was there for only a few brief weeks, but 
other Americans who were there for months were equally unaware 
of any such Communist apparatus of dictatorship as Chungking 
had mastered. In the field there were verifiable instances of Com- 
munist brutality to the rich and to the landed. There were 
verifiable instances of Communist gunmen at work in the under- 
ground in Japanese-occupied cities, and it was well known that in the 
past Communist terrorists had fought and killed both Kuomintang 
spies and Communist traitors. But all that was part of war. 

Chungking argued that whereas the Central Government per- 
mitted a Communist paper to publish in its capital, under rigid 
censorship, no opposition paper at all was permitted in Yenan. 
To this the Communists had a pat answer, difficult to refute. 
The printing press on which they published their paper had been 
smuggled through from a Japanese-occupied city; the paper on 
which they printed was brought out of the occupied areas under 
the guns of the Japanese. If the Kuomintang wished to publish 
in Yenan, they said publicly, let the Kuomintang send a printing 
press and enough paper into their city ; they would gladly allow it. 
The Communists promised that in the postwar world all groups 
should be allowed to print precisely what they chose in a com- 
pletely free J press. They pointed out that no foreign corres- 
pondent's dispatch from Yenan had ever been censored. I 
questioned one of the top-ranking leaders sharply about this : " You 
mean that anybody will be able to say exactly what he wants, no 
matter what it is, just as in America? " "Yes," was the reply, " they 
can say anything they want as long as they are not enemies of the 
people/ 1 Who should decide what enemies of the people were and 
what standards of judgment should be used was not explained. 

The life of the Communists seemed undemocratic, because 
there was no organized opposition political party; this was 
explained historically. The Communists had organized themselves 
best and strongest in the hill regions and in the roadless plain* 
where the Japanese could not penetrate. These regions, because 
of their backwardness, were precisely those that were least alert 
politically before the war; the ancient villages the Communist? 
dominated were villages where no political parties had beer 
organized, and no man had thought beyond the harvest and the 
market. In establishing their party in such villages, in growing 
from a membership of 200,000 to 1,000,000 during the war, the 



Communists had worked on virgin minds and made the most 
active personalities part of their machine. They acknowledged 
that the lack of an opposition was undemocratic, and they in- 
stituted a scheme called the 3-3-3 system, by which not more than 
one- third of those elected to any county or regional council could 
be members of the Communist Party. At least one- third had to be 
members of the Kuomintang Party (although the Kuomintang 
claimed that such people were renegades), and another third non- 
partisan. In practice the system did not always work this way, but 
the Communists tried to keep their own proportion from ex- 
ceeding the accepted third. In fact it mattered little whether the 
Communists had more or less than a third. In each regional 
government they were the only group that was linked to a nation- 
wide policy with a cohesive programme. They were the leaders 
of the army that was the shield of the peasantry. They set policy, 
and by and large the peasants accepted the Communists as their 
own leaders, as an" expression of their own will. 

The Chinese Communists flatly deny the assumption of many 
American friends that they are merely agrarian reformers, not 
Communists at all. They insist they are Communists in the full 
sense of the word, and they are proud of it. Communism, they say, 
is the application of Marxist principles to the problems of a 
changing society; the principles are constant whether applied in 
Russia, America, or China. Since each of these societies is 
different, however, the application of the same principles will 
yield different results. In practice the Chinese Communists are 
among the world's greatest empiricists, trial-and-error artists par 
excellence. Their principles have led them in the course of twenty 
years along a changing party line that always, at any given 
moment, has been presented as the ultimate, unquestionable 
truth. Most other Communist parties have been in a position of 
irresponsible theoretical opposition, but the Communists of China 
have been governing millions of their fellow men for a score of 
years. Their discussions are practical; the fundamental question is 
always, "Will it work? " 

The current quotient of Marxist principles in Chinese society is 
laid down in a book by Mao Tse-tung, The New Democracy, 
published in Yenan in 1940. This book is still the Bible of the 
movement. It was written during the Nazi-Soviet pact period and 
many passages would probably be different if it had been written 
somewhat later. These passages are interesting as showing the 
220 



mentality of the Communist movement in China at the time; 
the book completely ignores the role of America in the Pacific 
and declares, for example, that "without the assistance of the 
Soviet Union, final victory in China against Japan is impossible/' 
The book is noteworthy because it represents a basic change in 
the party line from the more radical revolutionary principles of 
,the 1930*3 and because it was written before the profound impact 
the American war later made on Japan. The Communists are 
hardheaded men; they reach for power constantly. Mao's book 
is hardheaded and in many respects brilliant, a programme of 
action that sets forth broad standards by which the party can 
guide itself in any given situation. 

Originally, in southern China, the party stood for a programme 
of sovietization of Chinese land for expropriation, for mass 
uprisings, for punishment of the landlords; in southern China 
they had denounced the San Min Chu I of Sun Yat-sen as a sham 
device to destroy the people. When they were driven north, they 
adopted a new line calling for a united front of all elements 
against the Japanese. They had decided on this policy as a means 
of ending civil war and preventing further Japanese invasion; 
internationally it coincided with general Comintern policy, which 
shifted to a call for united fronts everywhere at that time. By their 
agreement with the Kuomintang in 1937 the Communists ac- 
cepted the San Min Chu I and gave up their policy of expropriation 
and sovietization of the land. They adhered scrupulously to this 
agreement, and by 1941 their new tactics had succeeded beyond 
all expectation. Mao's book is a formal statement of a policy that 
had been in successful operation for some years. The main goal 
is still socialism; eventually the old system must go. But between 
the "now" in China, with the feudal, semi-colonial misery of the 
present, and the future world of classless, strifeless socialism the 
era of the "new democracy" intervenes. How long or how short 
this period may be Mao does not define. He merely says that 
China is not ready for socialism at this time; therefore the 
peasants and workers must seek allies in their struggle against the 
old feudalism. These allies are the bourgeoisie, the progressive 
urban elements, the intellectuals and liberal-minded of the middle 
class, who are as much oppressed by the feudal shackles of the 
land as peasants and workers are. Only in alliance can any of 
them hope to change China, create democracy, and lay the 
foundations for socialism. 



221 



Communist political thinking has some curious technical terms. 
Although " bloc " is not used by Mao Tse-tung, the framework he 
recommends for the transitional state is obviously a bloc of the 
peasants, workers, and petty bourgeoisie. A bloc does not 
necessarily mean that the participating groups will oppose each 
other in organized effort at the polls; Mao does not speak of 
voting. He looks forward to a union of two groups, representing 
associated classes who come to power and enjoy it together. These 
two friendly groups settle differences among themselves by dis- 
cussion or arbitration rather than by appealing separately to the 
people at the polls. A similar situation would exist in the United 
States if the Democratic Party represented the whole people; 
differences between Southern and Northern democrats would be 
settled between themselves, and the resultant programme would 
be presented to the people as a whole for confirmation. Such an 
alliance was devised by the Communists during the war. They 
swept into their government the most progressive and energetic 
men of the countryside. These men were not necessarily members 
of the Communist Party, but they co-operated with the Com- 
munists against the common enemy for ends beneficial to them 
all. In practice this policy became the 3-3-3 system, and the 
Communists found their policy of compromise and conciliation 
with the middle class in the villages fantastically successful, Out 
of this policy of alliance came also the great affection for the 
Communists that grew in every sphere of intellectual and 
democratic activity. The policy has been so successful that there 
is every reason to believe that for the next decade or generation 
the Communists of China will continue their conciliation of the 
lower middle class and compromise with it. There is little likeli- 
hood of their returning to a policy of ruthless land confiscation or 
terror in the village except under the sharpest provocation. 

Mao's The New Democracy leaves some questions unanswered. 
There is first the question of how long the period of new demo- 
cracy is to last. Is the alliance with other groups to be temporary 
or permanent? Are the Communists eventually to cut loose and 
strike for socialism on their own, or are the other groups to be 
persuaded that the socialist society is their society too? 

Secondly there is the question of civil liberties and minority 
rights, which lie at the root of America's concept of democracy. 
During the war the Communists championed all that was good 
in Chinese life; they fought against Kuomintang dictatorship and 

922 



in so fighting fought for the liberties of all other groups. But up 
to now the Communists have been in opposition to the dominant 
regime, and their base has lain in the backward villages, where 
opposition has been non existent. How will they react to the 
organized opposition of the large cities where the Kuomintahg 
middle class is firmly established and where, with nioney and 
influence, it can command a press that will present an alternative 
programme? Will the Communists, if they govern large and 
complex industrial cities, permit an opposition press and opposi- 
tion party to challenge them by a combination of patronage and 
ideology? They say that they will, for they believe that in any 
honest contest for the vote of the people, the people will vote them 
and their allies a majority against the candidates of the landed and 
well-to-do minority. But if the Communists are wrong in their 
calculations and are outvoted, will they yield to a peaceful vote? 
Will they champion civil liberties as ardently as they do now? 
This is a question that cannot be answered until we have had the 
opportunity of seeing how a transitional coalition regime works in 
peacetime practice. 

Americans have a third and most important question to ask the 
Communists. In The New Democracy, Mao sets down three main 
conditions for the alliance with middle-class elements during the 
transitional period. The first two of these are unexceptionable: 
co-operation with the Communists and protection of the interests 
of the peasants and workers. The third condition, listed first by 
Mao, requires that all groups subscribe to an alliance between 
China and the Soviet Union. This alliance between China and 
the Soviet Union is not explained. An exclusive alliance, ir- 
revocably locking China into a hypothetical Soviet world front 
against all other nations, would be dangerous in the extreme; an 
alliance that would be simply one of a number of associations 
made by China with the outside world is a progressive require- 
ment. Do the Chinese Communists see a revolutionary China as 
having one friend or many friends? 

On many scores it seems certain that The New Democracy does 
not represent a final crystallization of Mao's ideas on the outside 
world. His views grew and expanded in the years that followed, 
and they were reflected in the entire attitude of the party. The 
change in Chinese Communist thinking about the outside world 
was reflected most dramatically in attitudes towards the Soviet 
Union and the United States. Briefly, from Pearl Harbour on, 

223 



the United States became more and more important to the 
Chinese Communists, the Soviet Union ever more remote. 

The Chinese Communist Party had been originally, in the early 
*2o's, a bureau of the Comintern, controlled body and soul from 
Moscow and racked by the internal disputes, theoretical faction- 
alism, and arbitrary directives of the Russian party. Its disastrous 
defeat in the split with the Kuomintang in 1927 reflected partly 
its own immaturity, partly the ignorant advice of Russia, to a 
large extent the calculated support of Chiang K'ai-shek by 
foreign imperialism. In southern China during its Soviet days, 
from 1929 to 1935, the party was isolated from contact with the 
Western world; it ruthlessly applied a code of extreme revolution 
to the countryside, and it was still swayed by Comintern mentors. 
Many of the foremost Chinese Communists to this day attribute 
their defeat in southern China to their own willingness to submit 
to ill-considered foreign advice. 

The Long March to the north marked a turning point. The 
Chinese Communist Party resettled in Yenan under its own 
leadership. Mao, the unchallenged ruling spirit of the party, 
was a Chinese who had never been abroad, whose genius con- 
sisted not only in a brilliant clarity of mind but in an almost 
uncanny understanding of Chinese peasant problems. The ex- 
treme left within the party, headed by several Moscow-trained 
members who were never purged or driven out, was nevertheless 
reduced to a minor influence. By no stretch of the imagination 
could Mao's unchallenged ascendancy be construed as an anti- 
Soviet reorientation of the Chinese Communists; Russia remained 
the patron country, the oracle and citadel of world revolution. 
The new attitude was simply that Chinese Communists knew 
better than any foreign party what the best interests of China 
were. In a lecture in 1941 Mao attempted to hammer home his 
belief that Chinese reality, not foreign doctrine, ought to be the 
Communists' sole frame of reference. Said he: 

Many of our comrades regard this ignorance, or partial 
knowledge, of our own history not as a shame but on the 
contrary as something to be proud of. ... Since they know 
nothing about their own country they turn to foreign Idbcjs 
. . . during recent decades many foreign-returned students 
have made this mistake. They have merely been phonographs, 
forgetting that their duty is to make something useful to 
224 



China out of the imported stuff they have learned. The 
Communist Party has not escaped this infection. 

Soviet foreign policy was also entering a new period at this 
time. During the early '30*5 the Soviet Union found itself menaced 
both from the east and from the west, by Germany and Japan. It 
sought new allies to counter these threats. In Europe, Russia 
attempted to establish France and Czechoslovakia as firm allies 
against Hitler by solemn treaties. In the Orient the single greatest 
power that might be used against Japanese aggression was the 
Kuomintang government of Chiang K'ai-shek; rather than 
weaken this government by internal discord, Russia sought to 
strengthen it by material aid. When the war between China and 
Japan broke out, Russia was the first of the great powers to come 
to China's aid ; while America sent scrap iron and oil to Japan, 
Russia was sending gasoline and planes to China. Russian aid to 
the government of China from 1937 to 1939, exclusive of an 
expeditionary air force that fought for Chiang K'ai-shek in central 
China, came to a credit total of $520,000,000 U.S. American aid 
to China at the same time amounted to one-fifth as much. 

Russia pursued a scrupulously correct policy throughout. It 
recognized only Chiang K'ai-shek as the head of state. When the 
pro-Communist governor of Sinkiang proposed that his province 
should be incorporated into the Soviet Union, the Russians 
refused his suggestion. When the same man proposed, during the 
Sian coup d'etat, that the Soviet Union and the Chinese Com- 
munist Party make an all-out drive against Chiang's government 
at Nanking, he was spurned. The Soviets wanted a strong China 
to balance Japan. Even the Kuomintang found the attitude of the 
Soviet Union impeccable. 

Yet the Chinese Communists, desperately short of supplies and 
arms in their own huge war against the Japanese, could take little 
comfort in the Soviet's correctness. During the entire course of 
the war they received not so much as an airplane, a ton of gasoline, 
or a single crate of munitions directly from the Soviet Union; 
all aid from Russia went to Chiang K'ai-shek, and of this aid the 
Central Government is said to have given only one battery of four 
second-hand guns to the Communist Party in the early days of 
the war. The Communists of China fought on their own. From 
1 93 7 to 1 945 no more than five Russian planes made trips to Yenan ; 
each of these planes was approved by the Central Government 

225 



and brought a Central Governriient inspector with it as it 
flew in, and all materials carried were thoroughly checked. By 
1944 two Tass newspapermen and a Russian doctor constituted 
the only instruments of Soviet influence in Yenan, and these men 
had come with Central Government permission; the American 
military observers' outpost in Yenan had five times as many people. 

What minor frictions there were between the Russian Com- 
munists and the Chinese Communists no one fully knows. It is 
known, though, that there was a falling out over the organization 
of Sinkiang. This vast province lived for almost ten years in a state 
of alienation from the Central Government. It shared a border of 
almost a thousand miles with the Soviet Union. In its councils both 
Russian and Chinese Communists took a large part; Mao Tse- 
tung's younger brother was a high official in the provincial govern- 
ment. The Chinese Communists felt that since Sinkiang was a 
Chinese province, the Chinese party should have the right to organ- 
ize it; the Russians felt that because of its proximity to Russia, 
the Russian party 'should organize it. The issue was settled by 
reference to Moscow, which decided in favour of the Russian party. 

By 1944 the Chinese Communist party was rooted in its own 
soil, Sinified, nationalistic. It had fought so long against an alien 
enemy that it had become as thoroughly and as ardently patriotic 
as the Kuomintang. Its leadership was tuned to Chinese necessity 
and interest. Simultaneously Communist leadership was re- 
assessing America. America had been in Communist mythology 
a land of predatory capitalism, whose imperialist greed dug into 
Chinese soil for profit and nourished a decadent Kuomintang for 
its own interest. Contact with Americans in China, whose leader- 
ship was symbolized by General Stilwell, had by 1 944 given them 
a new picture of American policy. Through Stilwell and Gauss, 
America was demanding certain basic reforms that paralleled 
what every honest Chinese wanted. The furious American 
campaign in the summer of 1944 for Kuomintang reform con- 
vinced the Communists that the word "democracy" meant 
roughly the same things to the Americans as it meant in northern 
China. America, rather than being an enemy of reform and 
change, became their protagonist. 

Another factor entered into this new picture. It was all very 
well to admire Russia for her great victories over Germany and 
to reprint Tass dispatches of victories on the eastern front but the 
Communists were fighting Japan, and in the war against Japan 
236 



only America was great. In the hill villages where the Com- 
munists ruled, final victory seemed like a distant vision, a mirage 
born out of hopelessness. But news of American battles in the 
Pacific brought a promise, a fact that could be built on, that could 
encourage soldiers shivering at night in their shelters ; somewhere 
far away in the Pacific, they knew, there was an ally more power- 
ful, heavier in tanks, planes, guns, ships, than the Japanese. And 
that ally was slowly approaching China in order to reinforce 
native resistance to the invader. This feeling of double alliance 
against both the domestic and the foreign enemy was 
strengthened by every contact the Communists made with 
Americans in Yenan. The military observer mission set up in 
Yenan by the American Army in the summer of 1944 was 
entrusted to the leadership of one of America's ablest specialists 
on China, Colonel David Barrett. Barrett was the very prototype 
of a regular Army colonel whose personality was adorned by a 
warm humanity and an overwhelmingly infectious humour. He 
boasted himself a rock-ribbed Republican and a " black-hearted 
reactionary." The Communists loved him; his round jokes in 
flawless and fluent Chinese destroyed much of their imaginary 
picture of calculating American imperialism. Barrett's reports on 
the Communists were honest, hardheaded military assessments; 
a soldier himself, he recognized the Communists as effective 
fighting men, sound allies against a common enemy. They felt 
his respect and reciprocated it. To them Stilwell, Barrett, and the 
enthusiastic American reporters who passed through became the 
embodiment of American good will. 

The fall of 1944 opened a high opportunity to America. For a 
brief period it was possible to prove to the Chinese revolutionary 
movement that America too stood for progress. In all the last 
twenty years the magnificent energies and the social conscience 
of the Communists had been linked by a rigid formula to exclusive 
support of the Soviet Union. Now was the moment to prove to 
both the Russian and the Chinese Communists that America acted 
not out of any Marxian predestination but out of a conscience 
that sought freedom and democracy everywhere in the world. 

We cast this opportunity away. During the next six months we 
chose to prove to the Chinese Communists that no matter how 
friendly they might be to us, we would support the government of 
Chiang K'ai-shek against them under any circumstances. We 
chose to prove to the Chinese Communists that indeed the only 

227 



friend they had was the Soviet Union; we forced them back to an 
alliance and dependence on Russia more unquestioning than at 
any time since the days of the Long March. By so doing we 
created the very thing we feared most, a huge organized mass of 
Asiatic peasants believing that America was their enemy and 
Russia their only friend. It was not the relief of Stilwell that did 
this; the Communists accepted that as a minor tragedy arising 
from American ignorance. It was the course of American 
diplomacy during the year of 1945 that finally convinced the 
Chinese Communists that America was a hostile power. 



CHAPTER 16 
PATRICK J. HURLEY 

WITH THE DEPARTURE of Ambassador Gauss and General 
Stilwell, a new chapter was opened in the joint history of China 
and America; Patrick J. Hurley was the man chosen to write its 
opening pages. 

For a hundred years since Caleb Gushing had wrung 
America's first trade concessions from the Manchu Empire in the 
treaty of 1844 America had charged its envoys to China with 
but one interest : trade, the defence of the expanding economy of 
the United States. By 1944, however, diplomacy in the Orient 
was no longer a matter of tariffs, treaty rights, loans, and trade 
concessions. American diplomacy was now charged with creating 
peace, and China was one of the places where peace could be 
made or lost. The American Embassy in Chungking had taken 
on the impressive attributes of court of appeal and horn of plenty. 
China needed guns, planes, money, modern techniques, inter- 
national prestige; all these could flow from the spare, white 
rectangle overlooking the Yangtze Rjver. 

Clarence Gauss had watched the change come and had moved 
with it. He had risen in the service of the State Department from 
junior consul, thirty-five years before, to the eminence of Am- 
bassador Plenipotentiary. By the summer of 1944, Gauss felt fresh 
forces pressing him on to a new concept of the role of American 
ambassador. Gauss, like Stilwell, saw internal peace in China a 
prerequisite for any understanding between America and the 
Soviet Union; and upon that understanding rested the hope for a 
228 



new and warless world. Like Stilwell, Gauss was discarded as he 
laboured to bring this peace to birth. 

The publicity attendant upon the relief of Stilwell and the 
resignation of Gauss suddenly focused world attention upon the 
new ambassador. The Embassy in Chungking was now one of our 
three great global outposts, operating in the same level of 
diplomatic stratosphere as London and Moscow. Its duties, how- 
ever, were even more difficult and complex than those of its two 
companion posts. Its function was to mould American policy in 
relation to an uncontrollable revolution. Set down in the chaos of 
a crumbling civilization, disturbed by the alarms and violence of 
a new world, its mission was to seek out the most vital forces in the 
turbulence and encourage those forces to the creation of a new 
and stable Chinese society. Its responsibility, above all, was to see 
that whatever happened in China, there would be a foundation 
of friendship on which America might erect an enduring peace. 

For the first time, the United States could tip the balance in 
China. Both warring factions knew that, with America on their 
side, China was theirs ; with America against them, victory was 
remote ; and both trusted America's honesty as arbiter of their 
troubles. The United States Embassy had become the crossroads 
of destiny in the Orient. 

All this monstrous burden rested squarely on the shoulders of 
the new ambassador. Hurley had come to China as the personal 
representative extraordinary of Franklin D. Roosevelt. And 
Hurley was extraordinary. He was a fine figure of a man, with 
stiff moustaches, a flowing mane of white hair, and ramrod-stiff 
carriage. In uniform, with all his ribbons, he looked the very 
model of a modern major general. He was a man of eloquence, 
with a huge fondness for earthy oratory. In physique and appear- 
ance, in personality and lung power, he outmatched anyone the 
Chinese had ever dealt with, and they treated him gingerly, 
waiting for clues to his character. 

Hurley's career in America read like a page out of Horatio 
Alger. He had been born in Oklahoma he constantly reminisced 
about Oklahoma and left an orphan. He had worked in coal 
mines, been a soldier and a cowboy, learned to talk the language 
of the Choctaw Indians. He had fought as an officer in the First 
World War, and he told long stories about how he had devised 
quick, unbreakable code by putting his Indian friends at both 
ends of the Signal Corps telephones and letting them relay orders 

229 



to each other in Choctaw. He had become a lawyer, a millionaire, 
and Secretary of War. As Secretary of War he had approved the 
battle on the bonus marchers. He had played a leading part in 
negotiations between the Mexican government and American 
owners of oil properties in that country; he had tried, early in the 
war, to send relief ships to the blockaded Philippines ; he had 
travelled the world as trouble-shooter in diplomatic affairs. 

Hurley had said, time and again, that he would not be named 
ambassador, did not want the job, would not take it. He ex- 
plained that he had been offered the post of ambassador to Russia, 
a much bigger assignment, and refused. In the early days of his 
mission he misunderstood Ambassador Gauss's impatience with 
the long series of special emissaries sent from Washington to 
dabble in ambassadorial duties; Hurley told how he had re- 
assured Ambassador Gauss with an old Oklahoma story. He had 
told Gauss, he said, of his boyhood in the frontier west when a 
roistering bar-room ran a barber shop in its rear. On one par- 
ticularly rugged evening a customer arrived. As he reclined in 
his chair being shaved, shots began to whistle back and forth. 
The customer twitched himself erect, but the barber prodded him 
back casually with the point of his elbow saying, "Lean back, 
brother nobody's shooting at you." Hurley said he had re- 
counted the tale to Gauss, admonishing the ambassador to 
lean back, brother nobody was shooting at him. Hurley re- 
peated that he had told Gauss again and again that he did not 
intend to become ambassador. 

When he did become ambassador, in the fall of 1944, the 
American Embassy looked down from its steep knoll in the 
suburbs over a capital that trembled with political explosive. 
Chungking was a town that seethed with personalities and politics, 
and Chungking analysed every character in the great drama for clues 
to what was happening. The American Embassy was the most 
important single centre of influence in the town; and within a 
few months the muffled explosions that boomed from within its 
cloistered walls delighted and astonished the audience. 

The Chinese associate a man with a cause, a representative 
with the state he represents. Hurley was America's representative. 
Therefore, in the eyes of the Chinese, Hurley himself was America. 
The Chinese had found Gauss chilly, and his New England 
manners inscrutable. They had nicknamed him "the Honest 
Buddha." Hurley was gregarious, enjoyed people, delighted in 
230 



parties and celebrations. In Chungking there was no such thing 
as privacy; government officials and foreigners lived in a tight, 
compact community, visiting, wining, and dining each other. 
Each member of this small circle knew, .with a fair degree of 
accuracy, the personal habits, prejudices, tempers, and limi- 
tations of most other members. Chungking soon heard how 
Hurley lived, whom he saw, what he said; his smallest action, 
unimportant in another setting, was inevitably tinged with 
world importance in Chungking. 

As Chungking saw the new ambassador do an Indian war 
dance at one Embassy party, and heard him yelp blood-curdling 
Choctaw " yahoos'' on other occasions, they gave him a handful 
of nicknames. The Communists promptly called him Hsiao Hu 
Tze, " Little Whiskers." Hurley's encounters with the Chinese 
language evened the score; he pronounced Communist leader 
Mao Tse-tung's name as " Moose Dung". Perhaps Hurley 
thought that was Mao's name; for months after he arrived he 
referred to General Chiang as Mr. Shek. Americans of an intel- 
lectual twist called Hurley "the Paper Tiger". But by far the 
most incisive of all the nicknames applied to the American envoy 
was the choice of some of his friends of the Kuomintang, who 
called him Ti Erh Ta Feng, " the Second Big Wind." 

Hurley's personality was neither interesting nor significant in 
itself; but as ambassador of the world's greatest power his 
personality was endowed with transcendent ex-officio importance. 
All men acknowledged that Hurley had arrived in Chungking in 
great sincerity to labour as hard as he could at the directives given 
him. Most men who knew him well enough saw in him the tragedy 
of a mind groping desperately at problems beyond its scope. 

By the time Hurley assumed his duties in China, he was no 
longer a young man. He tired easily and his eyes bothered him; 
he disliked reading long documents or books. He seldom visited 
the Embassy, where China in all its complexity was stored in 
indexed files. Any man who wanted to understand China should 
have launched into a serious study of history, landholding, social 
structure, insurrections, political movements. Instead, although 
his memory was not infallible he sometimes could not remember 
conversations Hurley chose to imbibe knowledge aurally from an 
ever smaller number of men he trusted and liked. His junior officers 
used to come to his home and read aloud dispatches and documents. 

The outward dignity of the man would sometimes break in 

231 



outbursts of temper and livid profanity. Within a few months of 
his arrival all Chungking knew that he had excoriated T. V. 
Soong in the presence of a handful of Chinese officials. Several 
American correspondents who crossed his path were cursed by 
the ambassador to their faces. At a huge cocktail party in Chung- 
king he lost his temper when he was offended by Wedemeyer's 
honest chief of staff, Major General Robert McClure. 

Not even General Wedemeyer, the U.S. commander in chief in 
China, was exempt from Hurley's moods. As envoy, Hurley had 
lived with Wedemeyer; when he became ambassador, it was 
assumed that he would move into the Embassy house. Hurley 
disliked the building; he ordered a complete paint job, new rugs, 
new upholstery commodities almost impossible to find in 
Chungking. The Embassy house had been repaired for weeks, but 
Hurley stayed on in Wedemeyer's house. Then suddenly he had a 
violent argument with Wedemeyer; for more than a day they did 
not speak to each other, and Hurley decided to move out. H[e 
gave his charge d'affaires and other attaches who had always 
shared the Embassy House a few hours' notice to find other 
quarters in overcrowded Chungking. Then he moved in in 
solitary grandeur, to share the echoing space with only his army 
sergeant orderly and the Chinese domestic staff. 

The Embassy that Hurley had inherited was a delicate 
instrument. Its routine paper work was grooved sedately across 
the desks of the chancery and required little of the ambassador's 
attention. Its political staff consisted of a corps of brilliant young 
career diplomats who had been trained and selected for their 
ability to report what was happening in China. The ambassador 
who was charged with the duty of formulating and applying 
basic American policy was responsible for seeing that every 
shred of significant political information they had gathered for 
him was applied immediately to the problems at hand. 

Gauss had been a stern but just taskmaster; he was cautious 
and demanding, but a great believer in the mechanism which he 
had operated. He insisted that his Embassy should be the best 
informed in China, and it was. His men travelled through the 
country far and wide, in hardship and turmoil, to ferret out a 
vital mass of information about conditions in the land. Most of the 
Embassy staff had had years of training in China, wide contacts, 
and possessed a fluent command of Chinese. Hurley treated these 
232 



excellent assistants like unfriendly hangovers from a previous 
regime. They were familiar with the complexities of Chinese 
politics; he saw only two arguing parties. Members of the staff 
who disagreed with his interpretation (they included every 
political reporter of the Embassy at the time) were classed as Reds. 
When they pointed out Chinese political realities that underlay 
negotiations, he accused them of sabotaging his policy. 

Part of the tradition of the State Department, and an honoured, 
one, is for members to report the truth to the American govern- 
ment as they see it and to temper no factual report merely to 
conform with the prejudice of a superior. Hurley disapproved of 
reports critical of the Chiang government. This meant that little 
could be told about the Chinese people, press, or politics about 
public opinion, the Communists problem, or the military back- 
ground. As the clashes of government and Communist troops 
became more violent, one of Hurley's reporting officers made a 
memorandum about them which he cleared with U. S. Army 
Intelligence for the information of our State Department; at a 
meeting Hurley denounced the report as without basis in fact and 
against American policy in China. For months, when Washington 
should have been completely informed, it got little unprejudiced 
information from the American Embassy in Chungking. Hurley 
sent brief progress reports of his successes, but Chinese politics 
moved on towards civil war in spite of the opinion of the American 
Embassy. As life in the Embassy became more cramped with each 
new stricture of the ambassador, the staff grew silent and cowed 
and greeted their turn for the ambassador's " red purge " with joy. 

Life in Chungking rapidly dissolved Hurley's early geniality, 
and as he drove his own staff farther and farther from him, he 
grew more bitter and isolated. Within three months of his arrival 
he was an island of outraged dignity in the American com- 
munity. He saw in the differing opinions of other Americans a 
constant plotting to undermine him. His fear of the working press 
became enormous. He imported two personal press attaches, and 
invited visiting correspondents to live with him. The Embassy 
watched home-going news dispatches to check on the sources of 
criticism of the ambassador. The Chinese government cherished 
him, and shielded him from the American press. The chief censor 
officially informed an American newspaper correspondent: "The 
censorship of the Chinese government does not permit anything 
to go out which will disturb the cordial relationship between 

233 



the two governments (America and China). Ambassador Hurley 
represents the president and the American government; any 
attack by an American upon him on Chinese soil is therefore not 
permitted to go out." General Wedemeyer as commander in 
chief of the U.S. Army also felt it wisest to protect the ambassador 
from the public criticism of war correspondents, although he 
privately admitted the truth of many charges. The corps of 
foreign correspondents could only fume in silence and frustration 
at a situation which they knew must some day erupt in disaster. 

Hurley had already failed on much of his assignment when he 
turned his attention to the great internal political struggle in 
China. He had been ordered to secure American authority over 
the Chinese army; he had failed. He had been ordered to secure 
harmony between General Stilwell and Chiang K'ai-shek; in 
this, too, he had failed. But both these matters were trivial 
compared to his third task of making peace between the Kuomin- 
tang and the Communists. This would have required infinite 
patience, an almost saintly tolerance, vigorous administrative 
skill, and a deep understanding of China. Hurley approached 
this task in blithe good spirits. He believed that shrewd bargaining 
would settle the basic social problems of Asia in revolution. Success 
in the Communist matter would more than compensate for failure 
elsewhere, and a Hurley Pact would echo down the corridors of 
Chinese history forever, to the glory of American diplomacy. 

Even before Stilwell had been relieved, Hurley confided to one 
of the authors of this book that he had been negotiating with 
Chiang K'ai-shek and Chungking's two leading Communists. 
This was vital information; it meant that for the first time 
America was taking active steps to avert a Chinese civil war. 
The author questioned the ambassador; Hurley could not pro- 
nounce the Communists' names, but he listened to descriptions 
of the Communist emissaries and agreed that yes, those were the 
two men with whom he had worked, and he was hopeful of a 
solution. Thereupon both authors hastened to the Communists 
to verify the story and to learn their views as to the possibility 
of a settlement and what had they thought of Mr. Hurley? The 
Communists flatly denied that they had ever met the ambassador. 
They asserted that they had invited him to dinner but that he 
had never replied, and they had no idea when they might be asked 
to participate in the start of negotiations. The correspondents 

234 



returned to Hurley and told him what the Communists had said, 
asking for a clarification of the story, but beyond repeating that 
he had been presiding over negotiations, the ambassador was 
unable to account for the confusion. 

The two men whom the ambassador had taken for the Com- 
munist emissaries were never positively identified. Hurley had 
noticed their presence in the course of a routine meeting, but 
that was all. One thing is certain. They were not the accredited 
representatives of the Yenan government. 

Undismayed, Hurley pressed on with his task. He heard the 
pronouncements of Mao Tse-tung and Chiang K'ai-shek; both 
used the same symbols and sometimes the same phrases in their 
passionate invocations of democracy, unity, and peace. Only a 
student of China could tell what the leaders meant, which of them 
was reactionary, which revolutionary. Hurley thought each state- 
ment proved that the two parties were within a hand span of 
agreement, that only procedural differences stopped them from 
flying into each other's arms. He acted as though only a scattering 
of agitators frustrated his efforts to make peace. Among these 
intriguers, he believed, were his own American compatriots in 
the capital. He thought that Chiang K'ai-Shek was right; the 
Communists challenged this. Thus, anyone else who thought 
Chiang not all shining pure was suspected of Communism. 

Technically, the new ambassador bogged down in the twin 
problems of army and government without thoroughly under- 
standing the background of either. The armies were both party 
armies. The Central Government's army was Kuomintang to the 
hilt, its officers members of the Kuomintang, its units accom- 
panied by Kuomintang political commissars, its direction legally 
entrusted to the Kuomintang. But the Kuomintang called it the 
Government Army. The Communist army made no bones about 
being a party instrument and was frankly responsible to the party 
rather than to the nation. Neither side would consider yielding 
up its army so long as the other party possessed armed force. 

A backlog of distrust, treachery, torture, and extermination had 
been piling up since the first split in 1927. Chiang K'ai-shek 
might swear by all the oaths of holiness that if the Communists 
gave up their arms, he would not wipe them out. But the Com- 
munists knew that if they gave up their army, everywhere in 
China Chiang's secret police would operate; Communist troops 
would be broken up and then butchered like their New Fourth 

235 



Army. They remembered the slaughter in Shanghai in 1927 and 
refused to trust Chiang's word. "We will offer him one hand in 
friendship," a Communist general said, "but our other hand we 
will hold on our gun." Only if a representative government was 
set up in which the Communists could share would they abandon 
their one means of defence. Too much emotion was involved. 

In any case, Mao Tse-tung found it impossible to trust the 
Kuomintang. The party had been responsible for the murder of 
his first wife; his younger brother had been strangled to death 
in 1942 in Sinkiang. The relatives of dozens of other Communist 
dignitaries had also been killed. The Communists saw their army 
as their sole guarantee of safety. The argument advanced by 
Hurley made no sense; he was saying, in effect: "Put down your 
gun and come out with your hands up. Chiang says he won't 
shoot you." It was pointless to argue the legal case. There was no 
answer to the Kuomintang's claim that a centralized modern 
country must have one army, one command. Hurley agreed, but 
he forgot that the Kuomintang was not China but one Chinese 
party, with a party dictatorship and a party army. 

Acoalition governmentwas anevenmore involved undertaking. 
Chiang politely refused to consider a coalition government that 
would give other groups the right to question his decisions. The 
period of political tutelage was the legal responsibility of the 
Kuomintang, he explained. The only meaning he was willing to 
attach to a coalition government was the giving of a few un- 
important titles to Communists, with himself issuing the orders 
and the Communists obeying. The Communists refused to be 
specific about what they meant by a coalition government ; they 
would not say how many seats they wanted, what proportion of 
representation they thought due them, or what organs should be 
set up to make them a part of the government. A coalition 
government, according to general conversation in Chungking, 
meant granting the Communists seats in the National Military 
Council, the Supreme National Defence Council, and the Execu- 
tive Yuan. Actually no minor number of seats would satisfy the 
Communists. What they wanted was a changed government, 
which would attack the social problems of the land. The problems 
of honest administration, of grain collection, of education, of 
personal and political freedom, of vigorous war against the 
Japanese, were what agitated them. A government that tried to 
solve these problems might have granted the Communists only 
236 



token representation and still won their support; a government 
that maintained its censorship and secret police, its dictatorship 
and terrorism, would have to give the Communists enough power 
to destroy it. The Communists said they wanted sovereignty to 
revert to the people; they felt sure they had the people's support. 

When Hurley entered the negotiations, he held all the trumps. 
Chiang had won the Stilwell affair, but it had been a Pyrrhic 
victory, and American officers were disgusted. The American 
press had broken through censorship in a storm of criticism of the 
Chiang government ; in China public criticism of his policies was 
at high tide. He needed American aid and support more than 
ever before; his armies seemed like a sieve through which the 
Japanese filtered almost at will. It was his turn to yield. As for 
the Communists, although they were irritated by the dismissal 
of Stilwell, they were friendly to America, confident and trusting. A 
skilful American negotiator might have moved into the driver's seat. 

Hurley flew to Yenan on November 7, 1944, to meet the 
Communist leaders. He landed unannounced and unexpected 
on the cold, bleak valley airfield, his uniform dazzling, his chest 
covered with gay ribbons. Mao Tse-tung and the other Com- 
munist leaders had been telephoned after Hurley's plane landed. 
The Communist high command gathered hastily, piled into the 
war-scarred ambulance Mao used, and raced over the rocky 
roads to the runway. They piled out pell-mell and ran across the 
field to meet Hurley. The envoy greeted them affably, gave an 
Indian war whoop, and climbed into the ambulance. It was a 
joyful ride, and everyone became friendly at once as they jounced 
over the ruts in a welter of dust. When they passed a shepherd 
prodding some animals, Mao announced that he had been a 
shepherd boy himself; then Hurley told how he had been a 
cowboy in his youth. As they passed the shallow Yen River, 
Mao explained how the water rose in winter and dried up in the 
dry months; this reminded Hurley of the rivers in Oklahoma so 
dry in summer that you could tell when a school of fish went 
swimming past by the cloud of dust they raised. Colonel Barrett 
translated Hurley's jokes into Chinese, and when the ambulance 
arrived at the American military outpost in the suburbs, it 
disgorged a gay crowd. That evening the Communists gave an 
enormous banquet in honour of the November revolution in 
Russia, and Hurley was the star guest, though he baffled the 
Communists with an occasional bellowed " yahoo ! " 

237 



Actual negotiations between Hurley and the Communists 
opened badly. Hurley had brought up the Generalissimo's 
proposal that the Communists receive legal status, share some of 
the foreign supplies received through Lend-Lease, and get one 
seat in the Supreme National Defence Council; in return Chiang 
required the Communists to submit their armies and all their 
areas to his command. Mao would not subject his army and 
people to a government in which they would have the voice only 
of a mendicant guest, and he launched into a tirade against the 
Kuomintang. Hurley, infuriated, charged Mao with repeating 
the propaganda of the enemies of China. Mao insisted that what 
he said was only what most of China's illustrious friends already 
knew. Hurley passionately defended the Kuomintang, and the 
first day ended in failure. 

That evening and the next morning Hurley drafted what he 
believed was a genuine solution of the deadlock. It proposed a 
real coalition government in which the Communists would 
participate and the integration of Communist armies under 
Central Government control. Besides these two main points 
Hurley tossed in a whole bill of rights freedom of press, of speech, 
of movement, and of assembly. An impressive document, it is 
still an excellent outline for unity and an even better outline of 
how little Hurley understood his old friend Chiang K'ai-shek. 
The Communists were wildly enthusiastic; this was even more 
than they had hoped for. They agreed that they would give up 
their armies to a true coalition government. Hurley was careful 
to point out that he could not speak for Chiang K'ai-shek, but 
these were his views, and he would urge them. As a mark of good 
faith he was willing to sign his name to the document. One copy 
was made for the Communist archives, another for the Americans, 
and both were signed by Hurley. On the basis of this document and 
Hurley's backing, the Communists delegated General Chou En-lai 
to fly to Chungking and discuss the matter with Chiang K'ai-shek. 

Chiang was ill when the plane returned. Chou waited, cooling 
his heels for days, to see the Generalissimo, while he bargained 
with minor negotiators on the basis of the Hurley draft. When the 
document was finally brought before the Generalissimo as the 
best compromise the Americans and the Communists could 
work out, Chiang flatly refused to have any part of it. He held 
firm on his offer to the Communists of one seat in the Supreme 
National Defence Council on condition they give up their army. 
238 



Chou was admitted but once to see the Generalissimo and then 
he was treated so contemptuously that he vowed on emerging 
never to return to Chungking again. 

Hurley made another effort to bring the Communists into 
agreement. He asked Chou to accept the Generalissimo's offer, 
on the basis of its being at least a foot in the door, with possibly 
more concessions later. Chou was bitter; he thought Hurley had 
sold out the Communists, and he said he would not yield up the 
Communist army of a million men for a single seat on the Defence 
Council on the dubious strength of the Generalissimo's word. 
Chou was invited to American Army headquarters, and Wede- 
meyer repeated Hurley's plea. Then Chou went back to Yenan. 

One more belated attempt was made to solve the problem. 
The chief architects of the new proposal were two Kuomintang 
liberals, T. V. Soong and Wang Shih-chieh. Their idea resembled 
a suggestion that Sun Fo had offered the Generalissimo earlier 
and that the Generalissimo had turned down. Soong and Wang 
offered the Communists membership on a wartime Political 
Affairs Committee, which would have broad powers of adminis- 
trative decision, but which would be under the Supreme National 
Defence Council, the Generalissimo's rubber stamp. A year 
earlier such an offer might have been accepted, for it was the 
nearest the Kuomintang had ever come to be willing to share 
power. This proposal, however, was made in late winter, and the 
Communists had already launched a campaign for dominance in 
East China. They were unwilling to settle for anything that would 
leave them and China subject to the Generalissimo's veto power. 

By the time the February negotiations collapsed, the issue 
between the two parties had narrowed down to a pinpoint of 
clarity the personality of Chiang K'ai-shek. The Communists 
would accept no solution that left China governed by the will of 
one man; Chiang would accept no solution that challenged his 
complete authority. He said that his control of China w?is a 
sacred trust from Sun Yat-sen, and this trust was a responsibility 
that he could not share. As the Communist radio station grew 
more vituperative, Chiang grew more stiff-necked. The Com- 
munists harangued him from behind the blockade with fishwife 
adjectives that made his hatred even stronger. They called him 
a lunatic and his associates gangsters; they declared that if they 
permitted Chiang to remain in the coalition government that 
China must eventually have, it would be only to expiate his past 

839 



crimes. As the Communists' invective grew more fearsome, it 
became almost possible to sympathize with the Kuomintang. 
The manners of the Kuomintang in public were perfect ; its only 
faults were that its leadership was corrupt, its secret police 
merciless, its promises lies, and its daily diet the blood and tears 
of the people of China. 

China had become a secondary concern of American strategy 
by the spring of 1945. It had already been decided that the main 
drive would skirt China and go straight to Japan. Stilwell and 
Gauss had tried to reform the Chinese government to avoid 
military collapse. China's politics no longer had an immediate 
military bearing, so Hurley was left to interpret vague directives 
as he saw fit. The new policy held that China and Chiang K'ai- 
shek were exactly the same thing. Chiang, his government, and 
his party had never been elected by popular vote. There were two 
armed parties in China; they had co-operated in driving out the 
war lords, had fought the Japanese, and had support in millions 
of homes; the only difference between them was the fact that the 
Kuomintang held the international franchise and the Com- 
munists did not. The Kuomintang was recognized by the powers 
and therefore received supplies, aid, and honour. The Com- 
munists for their part refused to be nonrecognized out of existence ; 
if they had failed to get American recognition by negotiating, they 
meant to win it by arms. And so, in the spring, they embarked on 
new ventures. 

CHAPTER 17 

I945THE YEAR OF THE GREAT 
PROMISE 

THE KUOMINTANG AND the Communists, from the moment 
negotiations broke down, went their separate ways towards the 
one goal of American support. The Kuomintang took the road 
of propaganda and promises; having won the American am- 
bassador, they tried to consolidate their conquest with brilliant 
double-talk. On this road the Communists would have been lost; 
they took the rough, direct way of the battlefield. There seemed 
to be only one means of matching the aid that was pouring in to 
the Kuomintang; that was to wage a military offensive that 
would secure American recognition and the arms and supplies 
240 



that followed American recognition anywhere in the world. The 
Communists were sure American recognition of Chiang K'ai- 
shek was not based on democracy, for it was obvious to them that 
America knew how corrupt Chiang's government was. America's 
relations with Chiang must then be based on expediency; 
America needed his help against the Japanese and therefore 
offered him aid. The Communists set out to prove that they could 
be more valuable than Chiang against the enemy. 

They believed that the Americans would have to land in 
northern China, probably near Shanghai, before they could go 
on to invade Japan. The Communists determined to control all 
the coast of China, from Shanghai north to Tientsin. Any 
American commander who landed on the China coast would be 
greeted by Communist armies offering immediate assistance 
against the Japanese. Communist guerrillas in the rear would be 
ready to rip up rails, destroy bridges, and tear Japanese com- 
munications while the Americans established their beachhead. 
The guerrillas could prevent the Japanese from moving up 
reserves for days while the landing was being consolidated. Any 
American commander who was offered such assistance, the 
Communists felt, could not afford to ask questions about political 
loyalties; he would necessarily co-operate with anyone who could 
aid him in killing Japanese. And out of such an association in 
combat would come recognition for the Communists. 

So the Communists began a new programme of expansion. 
They already held a complete chain of communications from the 
Yangtze Valley to Yenan and the Great Wall. They moved one 
of their finest field commanders Huang Chen, the ruddy-faced, 
hearty defender of the blockade line in the north to south 
central China. Huang Chen's objective was the reconquest and 
reorganization of the Japanese-held areas of Hunan. By the end 
of March he had won the town of Pingkiang, 50 miles from 
Changsha, and was beginning to set up a civilian government 
there. Northern Hunan was old Communist territory, the original 
Communist base of the late 1920*3, and the peasants still re- 
membered the Communists and rallied to them. The success of 
Huang Chen precipitated a counterattack by the Kuomintang, 
and in April civil war was bubbling all through the lake region. 

A far more dramatic enterprise was under way at the coast at 

the same time. Thousands of Communist troops drove south of 

the Yangtze from the Nanking region towards Hangchow Bay. 

Ic 241 



They hoped to build an impenetrable line from the Yangtze river 
to Hangchow and to seal off the Kuomintang from Shanghai. For 
a time they succeeded, but the Kuomintang resisted bitterly. 
Ku Chu-teng, a zealot and an old friend of Ho Ying-ch'in, 
had been placed in command in the east, to defend Kuomintang 
interests there. Ku broke the Communist line and re-established 
Kuomintang contact with the Shanghai delta. Both sides thought 
that control of Shanghai meant control of the American landing 
area, and in their fighting for the territory no holds were barred. 

The centre of the struggle was Shanghai itself. The coast north 
from Shanghai, a region of fishermen, small villages, and sampan 
masters, was under Communist control. Communist agents in the 
city began to strengthen their hold on students, waterfront labour- 
ers, industrial workers. But Shanghai was the spiritual and financial 
citadel of the Kuomintang and the middle class of China. Chiang 
had his own underground in Shanghai, an underground of huge 
proportions and great skill. While profiteers and puppets danced 
and the poor hungered, the Japanese hunted Communist and 
Kuomintang zealots, who were hunting and tracking each other. 

But Shanghai was far away behind a thick wall of censorship ; 
almost no news of the fighting seeped through to Chungking, 
which was absorbed in spring and victory. 

The Japanese had been stopped in eastern China by the end of 
January 1945, and the Chinese divisions Stilwell had trained in 
India were marching back through the blockade. The drive 
through Burma had seized 50,000 square miles of jungle in a year. 
A line 470 miles long had been secured, from the railways of 
India to the flatlands of central Burma, and a road had been 
built to follow it. The men who did the job were a motley polygot 
crew, British and American, Kachin and Indian, but the heroes 
were the Chinese. Stilwell's divisions were tough and good, 
and they knew it. They hacj flesh on their biceps, meat on their 
bodies. They handled modern American instruments of war 
with familiar confidence. They were more than sure of themselves ; 
they were arrogant. They slugged Americans, British, Burmese, 
anyone who got in their way. They held up trains at the point 
of a tommy gun. They were the best troops China had ever had, 
and they bristled with pride as they approached the last objec- 
tive separating them from their own country. 

The last Japanese-held stronghold still barring the road was a 
village called Pinghai. On January 27 the final attack was 
342 



launched. American tanks rolled back and forth through the 
last Japanese-held village. Their seventy-fives chewed up the 
banana trees; their machine guns probed every suspicious clump 
of foliage. Chinese infantry, in battalion strength, was deployed 
on ridges around the village, under the command of an American 
general, who, when the tanks had finished, ordered an advance 
in combat formation. They went forward at a crouching run and 
disappeared into the soundless thickets about the village. 
Nothing happened. There were no shouts, no shots just complete 
silence. Inside the village a few Chinese soldiers sat munching sugar 
cane. The Japanese had pulled out two hours before the attack 
began; China lay a few hours ahead, with nothing in the way. 

The khaki-clad Chinese pushed on up the road. As they 
approached a junction, the cocky foot soldiers who had mopped 
up the Japanese in northern Burma saw a knot of raggle-taggle, 
blue-grey men at a fork in the road. Certain that these were the 
enemy, they deployed to shoot. But American Brigadier General 
George N. Sliney threw himself in front of a Bren gun and ordered 
them to stop. He hurried ahead on foot; as he drew closer, the 
blue-grey figures Chinese troops from within the blockade 
recognized his uniform arid rushed forward, cheering to shake 
his hand and clutch him. 

American tanks rolled into the road fork. The Chinese laughed 
and chattered, shouting "Ting hao!" to every American face. 
The troops from China, dirty, footsore, and bedraggled, gaped 
at their countrymen trained in India at trim khaki uniforms, 
leather shoes, shining guns. The Salween soldiers stared with 
peasant eyes at the monstrous steel hides of American tanks; 
one or two of them reached out to touch. All the hungry Orient 
stood gazing at the weight and power of America where the five 
tanks knotted together. The Burma Road was open again. 

The cracking of the blockade was one of the causes of Chung- 
king's high spirits. Even more important were the personality, 
craftsmanship, and gifts of the new commander of the China 
theatre, Lieutenant General A. C. Wedemeyer. Wedemeyer 
arrived with a grim determination to stay out of political 
entanglements. For him the past was a closed book. All the 
documents, cables, and memoranda on the Stilwell crisis were 
sealed in a folder marked "Oklahoma" and stowed away in a 
safe at Army headquarters; this folder Wedemeyer refused to 

243 



open. He wanted to forget the heartaches, bitterness, and 
smouldering aggravations of Stilwell's regime, to be friends with 
all men, to please everyone, in order to have his way clear for a 
single technical job. His orders were specific to create, train, 
and implement a first-class fighting Chinese machine. What the 
machine was to be used for, who was to drive it, where it was to 
go, was not Wedemeyer's business. Armies had made Chinese 
politics for thirty years. Wedemeyer began whipping together 
the best army China had ever known; yet he insisted that he 
stood outside politics. Politics were Ambassador Hurley's 
domain, and if Hurley was embroiling America in Chinese 
civil war, Wedemeyer considered himself bound to follow. 

Hurley was the number one American in China. Wedemeyer, 
as number two, was harassed and angered by Hurley's petulance 
and nagging; but when the chips were down, he gave way. Hurley 
criticized Wedemeyer's political aides, and Wedemeyer yielded 
their heads. Wedemeyer knew that political disunity within China 
acted as a dead weight on military effort, for he was fully in- 
telligent enough to understand the situation, but he held his 
peace. The Chinese were charmed at this political amiability. 
They had ousted Stilwell; if by obstructiveness they forced the 
recall of a second general, they might also precipitate a full stop 
to all military aid and co-operation from America. They needed 
desperately to be friends with Wedemeyer, and Wedemeyer's 
engaging personality made friendliness easy. 

Wedemeyer was an almost perfect staff man; experts called him 
one of America's most brilliant strategists. As a junior officer in 
the planning section in Washington he had helped draw up pre- 
liminary estimates in 1940 for mobilization. He became known as 
one of George Marshall's bright young men, and he attended 
every important international meeting up to the Cairo conference, 
after which he was assigned as chief of staff to Lord Louis 
Mountbatten in the SEAC. His appointment as lieutenant general 
and commander of the China theatre made him at once the 
youngest lieutenant general and the youngest theatre commander 
in the American forces. Many felt that here was a future chief of 
staff of the U.S. Army. 

In Chungking, Wedemeyer proceeded to build up a corps of 
the most brilliant young soldiers in the U.S. Army to help him in 
administration. He began a series of thrice-weekly staff con- 
ferences with the Chinese army staff, which produced mutual 
244 



trust and widespread exchange of information. He set up 
machinery for co-operation between Chinese and Americans all 
along the line. He brought in food experts to survey the nutri- 
tional needs of the Chinese soldier and to plan how Chinese 
agriculture could fill those needs. The heart of Wedemeyer's 
programme was the creation of the New Army, an amplified 
version of the old Stilwell plan for training and re-equipping a* 
striking force of 61ite divisions from the mass of old-fashioned 
Chinese soldiery. The Chinese army consisted at that time of 
some 320 divisions, in every state of disrepute and ill health; 
Wedemeyer intended to cut these under-strength units down to 
some manageable number, and in the meantime he began work 
on a praetorian guard of 39 divisions. 

The fronts were quiet, defended by tired soldiers, still starving, 
still trudging through the dust, under-equipped and under- 
supplied. Back in the highlands of south-western China the New 
Army began to gather for re-forming and retraining. It was built 
about the old Stilwell divisions, which had come in through 
Burma, and the semi- trained divisions that fought the Salween 
campaign. The best of China's other divisions were selected for 
the programme. They were equipped with supplies that came 
pouring over the Hump and up the reopened Burma Road; the 
reorganized Chinese service of supply began to provide more 
food. Gradually these American-sponsored divisions began to grow 
muscle. They drilled and practised with American guns; their 
military skill grew as their bodies mended. The Japanese, lunging 
at their south-western bastion just once, were briskly driven back. 

By late spring Wedemeyer had begun to plan the first offensive 
action for his new forces, which he regarded as simply a tool 
against Japan. Chiang K'ai-shek knew them for far more than 
that; after the war this army would have unchallenged might 
with which to enforce the will of his government. The Com- 
munists were powerful and growing in strength ; by now they had 
shown themselves more dynamic than the Kuomintang had ever 
believed. They were expanding in East China like a prairie fire, 
and it seemed entirely possible that Chiang might finish the war 
as victor over Japan only to be defeated at the hands of the 
Communists. The power the Americans were now building into 
the New Army would be his sole protection. The interests of 
Chiang K'ai-shek were identical with Wedemeyer's; both men 
wanted to build the army quickly and well. This was probably the 

245 



largest reason for Wedemeyer's success. Wedemeyer got co- 
operation where Stilwell had met stony refusal; when he expressed 
a desire, the Kuomintang jumped to obey. 

The Kweichow collapse and the torrent of Chinese and 
American criticism that followed had convinced Chiang that in 
the interests of self-preservation and efficiency a house cleaning 
was needed. He removed Ho Ying-ch'in from one of his con- 
spicuous posts; Ho remained chief of staff and headed the New 
Army, but Ch'en Cheng, who was more pleasing to the 
Americans, took his place as Minister of War. Ch'en trusted 
Americans, thought well of the reforms they were trying to force 
through, tried his best to clean up the stinking mess he had in- 
herited. With Ch'en as Minister of War, Wedemeyer was assured 
co-operation such as had never been possible before. 

In his wooing of America, Chiang did not stop at military co- 
operation. He began to redecorate his government in a style to 
please the American taste. He named Wang Shih-chieh as 
Minister of Information. Wang was honest and able; both 
Americans and progressive Chinese trusted and respected him. 
Wang took the Generalissimo's pledges of a relaxed censorship 
seriously, and he tried to make government statements explana- 
tions instead of whitewash. 

Most important, Chiang put T. V. Soong into the number two 
job of premier (president of the Executive Yuan). Soong was 
needed because he was the best man to clean up the admin- 
istration and lay a foundation for efficiency. He was even more 
needed to meet American demands; only Soong could build 
American-style administrative machinery. 

T.V.'s elevation marked his first return to power in ten years; 
it was his personal tragedy that his brilliant career was at the 
mercy of so complex and antithetical a character as Chiang K'ai- 
shek. Chiang's tortuous political thinking, his delicate toying with 
balances and politics, set him poles apart from Soong. Both men 
were arrogant and tempestuous; both loved power. Soong was 
the only man in the government who would stand up to Chiang 
K'ai-shek personally; their mutual antipathy was one of the im- 
portant facts in palace politics. 

T.V.'s wide experience in America and Europe made him 
perhaps more fully aware of China's position in the world than 
any other Chinese. He was both patriotic and far-seeing, and his 
246 



ambition lay within his own country. He was unhappy out of 
power; in power he was a great man. His ambition was a cold, 
driving passion, almost remorseless and inhuman. But always, to 
gain power, he was dependent on Chiang K'ai-shek. In times of 
great national crises T.V. rallied to Chiang's side against the 
world in spite of his unfeigned disgust and distrust for Chiang's 
methods. He was a captive in Chiang's camp, a tool that Chiang 
wielded only under the heavy pressure of necessity, when some 
national need seemed greater than the personal feud that 
separated them. 

T.V. was the stormy petrel of Kuomintang politics, outside any 
clique, but impossible to ignore. He was a burly, dynamic, ag- 
gressive character, simultaneously respected and hated by the 
party machine. Both the respect and the hatred were occasioned 
by his extraordinary Western efficiency. A product of Harvard, 
he thought, spoke, and wrote in English in preference to Chinese, 
and the small courtesies and long preliminaries by which other 
Chinese set so much store made him impatient. He was a brilliant 
administrator, one of the few men in the government who knew 
how to lay down a broad outline of policy, delegate responsibility, 
and require performance. He was also brusque and decisive, and 
these qualities were all the more startling in the veneered circles 
of the Kuomintang. His arrogance and contempt for inefficiency, 
his thinly disguised hostility to slovenliness in any form, were 
sometimes carried to the point of mercilessness. 

Many Chinese regarded T.V. almost as an alien. They called 
him by his Americanized initials rather than by his Chinese name. 
They believed, erroneously, that he had difficulty in reading and 
writing his own language and were gratified to learn that in 1944, 
during an enforced retirement, he studied classical Chinese 
history; it was fortunate they never heard that the week he 
became premier he relaxed with Forever Amber and enjoyed it 
mightily. T.V. was a symbol of hope for two widely separated 
groups, the liberal intellectuals and Westernized industrialists. 
To them he stood for efficiency, a cardinal virtue in a feudal 
society. Businessmen never forgot that before the war he had 
demanded a balanced budget, a consolidated tax system, and 
abolition of arbitrary trade levies. In his great quarrel with 
Chiang in 1934 over the civil war T.V. maintained that the 
continued offensive against the Communists was wrecking the 
country, draining the treasury dry, and hampering all progress; 

247 



he insisted that Chiang should draw the Communists back into 
the realm of peaceful politics for the sake of unity. During the 
war years he nagged and raged about the army medical service 
and the training of soldiers. He had a contempt so limitless for 
H. H. Kung and all the fumbling maladministration of his 
civilian government that he could rarely speak civilly of this 
brother-in-law. His crusades had endeared him to the liberals, 
who sought the same ends in the name of democracy. 

During his long exiles from politics T.V. used his skill and 
ruthlessness in business and became enormously wealthy. 
Fabulous tales were told about the luxury of his personal life; 
actually he merely lived in Western style. He had a flair for 
spectacular housing. Three of the most sumptuous homes in 
Chungking were his at one time or another ; during his absences 
the government commandeered the first two for high American 
brass; the third overlooked the Chialing River, about half a 
dozen miles out of town, and there T.V. lived lonesomely. He 
suffered agonies from stomach trouble and often paced the floor 
until dawn with insomnia. Coolie gossip said that his ailments 
were all due to the new house. When the gateway for the modern- 
istic mansion was being built, two graves were uncovered; the 
builders removed the coffins to a pleasant hillside nearby and 
went on with the building, but the disinterred dead, according to 
the story, were so enraged that their ghosts came back every night 
to wander the halls of the new home and haunt its occupant. 

T.V. moved into the administration like Turgot into the ancien 
rigime of the Bourbon aristocracy. He could crack the whip over 
the cabinet, require decisions to be made on time, and hold men 
to their promises. He decreed that state papers, which passed 
through hundreds of hands for routine approval, be merely signed 
instead of stamped with official seals; this alone saved hours. 
American administrative demands were quickly passed on to 
appropriate channels. But he operated on only one of several 
levels of administration. Above him the Generalissimo made all 
basic decisions and all important appointments. Below him the Food 
Ministry, the Conscription Ministry, and the whole web of village 
government remained unchanged. He issued clear directives; but 
the only machinery for carrying out his reforms was the old band 
of marauding tax collectors and peculating village headmen, 
whom he could not touch. But Americans saw T. V. Soong, not 
the Chinese peasant, and for a while the reforms seemed prodigious. 
248 



Victory came in Europe, and Chungking received it with bland 
urbanity. The war in Europe was a distant madness, a superior 
form of butchery fought with tanks, trucks, planes, radar, and 
God knew what other inconceivable forms of Western devilish- 
ness. China's war was the war against Japan, and V-E day came 
as the sound of a winding horn to a beleaguered garrison heralding 
armies marching to lift the siege. The accumulated homesickness 
of half a decade had lain like an iron weight on the spirit of the 
exiles in Chungking. Spring, bringing the winds of victory, boiled 
off the dark clouds and filled hucksters' stalls with fragrant flowers 
from the countryside. The high hills lifted from the white 
morning fog into the dazzling sun; in the hot black night twinkling 
street lights were golden necklaces flung across the ridges. Chung- 
king sensed that this would be the last summer of war. "When 
peace comes," a housewife said, "I'll buy a chicken and make 
chicken soup for the children." " When peace comes," a girl said, 
* ' I '11 buy a red dress and go dancing. " * * When peace comes, ' ' every- 
one else said, ' e then we'll go home. ' ' Spring madness was in the air. 
Trees that the government had planted along the bombed-out 
streets of the down-town district put forth green leaves for the first 
time in honour of Chungking's final year of questionable glory. 

The press inveighed against conditions in the town's filthy 
prisons. The police obliged with an "Extermination of Lice" 
campaign; every prisoner turned in twenty of the creatures per 
day or received a whipping across his palms; as the lice decreased, 
the whippings increased. Prisoners found their own solution in a 
private "Rearing of Lice" movement. The louse population 
soared; every prisoner produced twenty each day; whippings 
ceased. The warden was satisfied; the prisons were lousier than 
ever, but everyone was happy. 

Americans were cracking Chungking's Puritan veneer. A 
honky-tonk half a mile from U.S. Army headquarters served 
adulterated whisky and Unadulterated tarts. " Jeep girls " took 
to riding in the open streets with American Army personnel, in 
full view of the scandalized citizenry. One newspaper defended 
them; jeep girls, it said, should be given medals, because they 
were bringing in American dollars to bolster China's slim stock 
of foreign exchange. The municipal government drew up plans 
for an authorized red-light district; nothing came of it, but 
three dance halls opened up a thriving business. Little children, 
smiling and cheering at American boys, held up their thumbs 



and chorused, "Ting kao." One little girl greeted every GI in 
the street with her only words of English: "Hi, Uncle. " 

Alarmed by a drought, local residents patriotically formed the 
Praying-for-the-Rain Dragon Corps and paraded with much 
beating of gongs in the regulation rain-making costume of short 
trousers, bare chests, and green branches bound atop their heads. 
Chungking's press burst out in a rash of indignation. The old 
superstitions must be discarded, the papers complained; such 
nonsense would make a bad impression on our Allied friends 
but next day it rained. Chungking preened itself for peace and 
for the Americans. An edict was put forth that rickshas and pony 
carts should be given a bright coat of paint. The police decided 
to inaugurate a programme of planting flower gardens over all 
the ash and refuse heaps in town. 

This was the era of reform, the season of the Great Promise. 
Like confetti, promise after promise showered from the lips of 
Kuomintang potentates and Chiang K'ai-shek. The Kuomintang 
held a huge Congress its first National Congress in ten years. 
Its resolutions sounded like an introduction to a new world. The 
huge glistening projection into the future that most captured 
the attention of the diplomats and the press was the promise of 
a constitutional convention for November 1945. The conven- 
tion, or the National Assembly, as the government preferred to 
call it, was to be its last great gift to the people; whether the 
people wanted it or not, the government was going to shove it 
down their throats, because, after all, America wanted it! The 
Generalissimo outdid himself in good intentions. He did not 
ask the people to wait until peace for democracy; he did not 
even ask them to wait until November. He was going to end the 
one-party dictatorship of the Kuomintang on the lowest levels 
closest to the people. Kuomintang branches in the army were to 
be abolished by the first of August; all party branches in schools 
and colleges were doomed before November. And real grassroots 
democracy was promised to the people themselves. They were 
to have the right to choose local and provincial assemblies by 
popular suffrage, and these provincial assemblies were to have 
a real, solid realm of authority, which should include even the 
budget. All registered parties could stand at election, and all men 
could vote, regardless of property or educational qualifications. 

The resolutions of the Kuomintang tumbled out of Congress 
sessions in a glittering cascade. The government was going to 
250 



stimulate the eugenic breeding of children; it was going to 
improve sex education. China was to have an eight-hour day; 
workmen would all be organized in national unions and would 
have paid vacations. Every exploitation of the peasant was 
going to cease; high interest rates were to be abolished. It was 
the millennium. Chungking should have burst into cheers, but 
Chungking sagely nodded its head and kept its fingers crossed; 
no Chinese took the resolutions seriously. Such high-sounding 
wind had blown through the corridors of Chinese politics for 
twenty years; much of it was embodied in dead legislation on 
the statute books. But this year the lavish promises held extra 
meaning, for all were aimed at American public opinion. 
America had pressed for reform in China; here was reform to 
pay for recognition and a new army. As long as America and its 
representatives were satisfied with a sack of wind, the government 
stood ready to meet its obligations. 



CHAPTER 18 
UTOPIA STILLBORN 

THE GRIM REALITY of politics underlay all the glowing 
promises. The Congress of the Kuomintang proved only one 
truth, that the party was still in the grip of the same reactionary 
machine that had straitjacketed the nation for seven years. The 
resolutions had been left to the liberal wing of the party, which 
hopefully wrote a Utopian platform. But the struggle for party 
power behind the scenes had revolved about the election of two 
committees, which could implement the platform or destroy it. 
These committees decided on key government appointments, 
national policy, and relations with other parties. 

For a week before the Congress, in an atmosphere of grimness, 
exuberance, and electioneering, the delegates made and broke 
alliances, buttonholed each other for votes, gave lavish banquets, 
gossiped in smoke-filled rooms. Ranged on one side were those 
who wanted reform the Political Science Clique, Chu Chia-hwa 
and his followers, some of the Whampoa clique, and adherents 
of Sun Fo; on die other side were the CC machine and Ho 
Ying-ch'in's army delegation. As the week's session approached 
its climax, tension mounted. A ballot with 700 names, including 

25* 



liberals, had been drawn up; the convention was to select 360 
of them for the two central committees, the executive and the 
supervisory. The reform-minded could not hope to win a majority, 
but they had enough power to shake the machine's grip. 

On the day of balloting the Generalissimo appeared in the hall. 
He was not trying to influence the gathering, he said, but he had 
a suggestion to make. The ballot was very long; he had drawn up 
for the help of the delegates another, to be called Ballot B, for 
which he had personally selected the names of people he thought 
fit for posts on the central committees. He was not attempting 
to dictate. The delegates had free democratic choice; he had 
left room on his list for them to cut out the names of men they 
did not want, and of course anyone who wanted to use the 
regular ballot could do so. When he finished, the chairman 
called for a rising vote to see how many approved the suggestion. 
About 200 of the 800 party delegates stood up. There was a brief 
flurry at this tise-majestt. The Generalissimo remarked that perhaps 
he had not made himself clear, so he would explain again. At the 
conclusion another rising vote was called for; this time a majority 
endorsed the Generalissimo's proposal for a shorter ballot. 

The Generalissimo had arbitrarily increased the number of 
committee members to 460. His ballot had 480 names, and it 
operated as an unpopularity contest; those who used it merely 
had to scratch out twenty names. To make doubly sure of 
effective control, every voter was required to sign his name to 
his ballot. About a hundred men refused to vote; another hun- 
dred insisted on using the original ballot; the rest accepted the 
Generalissimo's ticket, and his men swept into office. 

The Generalissimo had given the kiss of death to all reform 
hopes. His ticketrepresented complete victory for the GG machine. 
The liberals with whom he had salted his list remained precisely 
as before, lonesome voices, a small minority. This was the 
Generalissimo's will, his idea of democracy. The Kuomintang was 
still to be controlled by the same men who had led the country 
to the verge of ruin and resisted every attempt at democracy or 
unity. If anything should happen to the Generalissimo, his 
successor would be chosen by the machine that had always done 
his will in the past. There was a reform administration in the 
cabinet, but it had been placed there by the Generalissimo; 
when he decided to change it, it would have to go, for it had no 
machine of its own to fight for it. 
252 



The Kuomintang had promised to dissolve its cells in the 
army by August. August came and went, but the Kuomintang 
continued its work in the army. November came and went; 
party branches continued in the schools. Peace came, civil war 
came, and a truce followed; but the popular elections promised 
in the spring never materialized. None of this mattered very 
much to the Kuomintang. The resolutions and promises had 
been read and noted with approval in America; that was the 
important thing. 

Only one broken promise gladdened the liberals. Yielding to a 
wave of postwar public pressure, the Generalissimo postponed 
the great constitutional convention to some unspecified date in 
the future. Americans, not knowing what this constitutional 
convention would be like, regarded with perplexity and annoy- 
ance the loud outcries of Chinese liberals against it. Long before, 
in 1936, a draft constitution had been written, a constitutional 
convention scheduled, and delegates "selected". Nowhere in 
China was an open election held ; in Shanghai, to be sure, the 
Chamber of Commerce was allowed to appoint a few business- 
men to represent the populace, but elsewhere the Kuomintang 
handpicked the nominees. The 1936 Kuomintang was bitterly 
reactionary; Communists were illegal, as were liberal parties. 
Only the purest of the pure had come through the process of 
sifting for the honour. Of 1440 delegates, 950 were selected before 
the Japanese war forced the cancellation of the assembly. Now, 
nine years later, Chiang proposed that the old and tired men 
left over from the 1936 lists be called to make a new constitution 
for the new land. Some of the old right-wingers of the Kuomin- 
tang, who had deserted to the Japanese, would be excluded, but 
the rest of the fossilized delegation were to draw the high endur- 
ing outlines of all China's future. The central committees of the 
Kuomintang would also be given seats. It did not matter that 
a great war had swept the land, that a new generation had grown 
to maturity, that the old delegates had never represented more 
than the most undemocratic fragment of the old Kuomintang, 
that the reactionary group could not build the kind of state that 
all the people would support. 

Chiang's reform cabinet laboured in vain. Ch'en Ch'eng drew 
up elaborate plans to reform the Chinese army, only to find that 
his title of Minister of War meant little; Ho Ying-ch'in still 
controlled the army. T. V. Soong went to Washington, to San 

253 



Francisco, to London; he spoke for China in the great councils 
and returned home to find few things changed. 

Inflation had skyrocketed in late winter. The entire month's 
salary of a civil servant would not buy enough coal or charcoal 
to keep his stove full and his room warm. Chicken was $400 a 
pound and fish $700. A peanut sold for a dollar in the street; 
eggs, which had sold for a few cents apiece before the war, now 
sold for $50; the general price level had risen to 2000 times the 
prewar level. The municipal government tried to limit one 
month's house rent to 20 per cent of the building cost. Alcohol 
manufacturers complained that they were losing $700 on every 
gallon they made, because the government forced them to sell 
at fixed prices, while the price of raw materials was not fixed. 
Price-setting committees got around to raising the legal rates 
on baths, leather, haircutting, laundry, and printing, but by 
the time the decision was announced, the market was charging 
50 to 100 per cent more than the newly granted increases. There 
was a rash of industrial failures. Salt production fell by one-fifth; 
cotton factories closed by the thousands; flour factories, alcohol 
plants, and mines shut down, for profits on current sales would 
not pay for the next month's raw materials. 

The people were hungry. A quarter of the students at the best- 
equipped middle school in Chungking were found suffering with 
tuberculosis ; 43 per cent of the members of the faculty of one of 
the refugee universities had the same disease. The Chungking 
electric system all but gave up the ghost. Each section of the city 
suffered a powerless, lightless night each week. On lighted nights 
the bulbs on the overburdened system glowed with the feeble 
strength of a candle unless you had a transformer installed at 
a cost of $2,000,000. The sewer system had been challenged and 
had failed. Every other Chinese city in history, a native social 
scientist said, had been limited in size by the problem of dis- 
posing of human wastes. Except for Shanghai and a few other 
coastal ports, they had all been held to the number of inhabitants 
whose excreta could be used as fertilizer by the neighbouring 
peasants. Chungking had five times its prewar population, but 
the peasants had only been able to increase their consumption 
by a third. Five hundred tons of sewage a day found its way, 
through gutters and rivulets, into the Yangtze, from which the 
drinking water came, or collected in great stagnant cesspools 
between the hills. Miraculously the city survived; no epidemics 

254 



flourished beyond the usual round of cholera, dysentery, syphilis, 
worms, and scabies. 

Under the benign influence of Dr. Wang Shih-chieh, the new 
Minister of Information, local censorship was liberalized. But 
when newspapers tested the limits of the new tolerance, they found 
they could not report conditions at the front, the Communist 
crisis, relations with Russia, or a revolt in Sinkiang. They did not 
dare investigate too closely reports that children of refugees were 
being sold on the streets by parents unable to feed them. They 
did not repeat the story Chungking savoured for weeks of the 
Szechwanese war lord and his favourite concubine. The war lord 
had been away at the front for several years and in his absence 
had sent his concubine to a college where she might be educated 
in a way befitting his station; when he returned, he was shocked 
to find that college had infected her with liberal ideas, and she 
disappeared without a trace. 

The press did, however, expose the scandal of two Chungking 
poorhouses where 400 adults and 100 orphans died within a 
month and investigators found 300 corpses lying unburied, 
"scattered here and there". Newspapers noted briefly that four 
months after Chiang K'ai-shek had promised the full institution 
of a habeas corpus act, the noted liberal professor Fei Kung was 
carried away by secret police and never heard of again. And the 
press had a field day with the gold scandal in the Ministry of 
Finance. This was a minor bit of knavery by which a few insiders, 
learning in advance of a rise in the official price of gold, cleaned 
up millions upon millions of Chinese dollars by purchasing gold 
bars with their advance information. Since America was shipping 
gold bullion to China to bolster her currency and not to create 
fortunes for Chinese officials, the scandal echoed all the way to 
Washington and back. The government promised to seek out 
the malefactors and punish them; one arrest was made; a mantle 
of silence settled over the episode and it was forgotten. 

China seethed from end to end at a recruiting drive that in 
brutality, callousness, and corruption matched the worst in her 
dark record. The suffering was made all the more pitiful by the 
pious protestations of the government that now at last all things 
were mending. So many bought their way out of the draft that 
village heads could not meet their quotas; in order to supply the 
requisite units of human flesh, organized bands of racketeers 
prowled the roads to kidnap wayfarers for sale to village chieftains. 

255 



Army officials engaged in the traffic on their own, and they made 
no protest no matter how decrepit the recruits' health. In Chengtu 
a black market recruit, a trussed-and-bound victim of the press 
gangs, was sold for $50,000 to $100,000 Chinese, the equivalent 
of the purchase price of five sacks of white rice or three pigs. 

In one Szechwan district the village headman stationed him- 
self at a crossroads with armed soldiers and seized a fifty-year-old 
man and his grandson. The boy was leading the grandfather to 
the hospital, but it made no difference; off they went to the 
recruit camp. In two instances village chiefs took their gen- 
darmes to a river to seize boatmen. The boatmen produced cards 
proving they were engaged in an essential occupation and were 
draft-exempt. Two were drowned; two were beaten to death; 
the fingers of another were cut off; more than ten were drafted. 
One company commander took a platoon of men out on the road 
to gather recruits; they seized a man in civilian clothes. Their 
prisoner proved to be the battalion commander, who out- 
ranked the company commander. The junior officer was so terri- 
fied that he murdered his superior on the spot; later he was shot 
himself. While government propaganda machinery ground out 
promise after oily promise, terror stalked the country roads. Able- 
bodied men deserted their villages and formed bandit gangs in the 
hills to wait until the drive was over. Peasant youths refused to haul 
pigs and rice to city markets for fear of being seized on the road. 

The Chinese did not fear to fight for their country; there was 
no deficit in patriotism. But they knew what recruiting camps 
were like. Government regulations could be read with a mirror. 
Officers were forbidden to mix sand with the rice they fed the 
recruits; they were forbidden to seize any clothes, baggage, or 
personal possessions a conscript carried with him; they were for- 
bidden to torture, tie up, or lock their recruits in barred rooms 
at night ; they were forbidden to ask families of deserting recruits 
to pay for the uniforms and food the soldier got at the induction 
centre. Conditions in combat units were horrible, but by com- 
parison to conditions in induction centres they were idyllic. 
Recruits ate even less than the starving soldiers; sometimes they 
got no water. Many of them were stripped naked and left to sleep 
on bare floors. They were whipped. Dead bodies were allowed to 
lie for days. In some areas less than 20 per cent lived to reach the 
front. The week that the stories of Belsen and Buchenwald 
broke in Europe coincided with the height of the conscription 
256 



drive in China; the doctors who dealt with the recruit camp about 
Chengtu refused to be excited about German horrors, for de- 
scriptions of the Nazi camps, they said, read almost exactly like 
the recruit centres in which they were working. Near Chengtu 
one camp had received some 40,000 men for induction. Many had 
already died on the way; only 8000 were still alive at the camp 
at the end of the drive. One batch of 1000 inductees was reported 
to have lost 800 recruits through the negligence of its officers. 

A, few of the men responsible for the horrors were shot. In one 
dispatch the Central News reported: 

Hsu Cheng-kun was accused of misappropriating military 
food supplies, causing the death of 105 recruits, the murder of 
company commander Wei Chao-jen, burying recruit Tai 
Ching-shan alive and sundry offences. . . . Lieutenant Feng 
Tsun was accused of viciously bqating up recruit Sun Kiu- 
shun, torturing his relative, and extorting $10,000. Captain Li 
Po-chien was accused of misappropriating military food sup- 
plies, causing the death of Li Cheng-tsin and other recruits by 
physical torture, extortion to the amount of $197,000, and 
maiming recruit Tseng Hsien-feng. 

The Minister of Conscription had been selected as a reform 
appointee after his predecessor was shot for just such excesses as 
these. The new minister's performance spoke for itself. Whereas 
he was supposed to collect 360,000 recruits in the spring, he 
actually gathered in 500,000. The official army newspaper 
observed, "The Ministry of Conscription has reported the names 
of hard-working staff members to the Generalissimo for meri- 
torious reward." While the Ministry of Conscription was scour- 
ing the countryside for new men, Ch'en Ch'eng, the Minister of 
War, was desperately trying to reduce the army from more than 
300 divisions to 100 in order to be able to equip and feed those 
who were left. 

Indignation grew and surged among the people. They saw 
that nothing had changed, that nothing would change. All the 
glittering words of the government covered a determination to 
hold fast against reform. If the old regime had its way, a rigged 
National Assembly and an undemocratic constitution would 
legalize the grip of ancient oppression. Discontent reached from 

257 



peasant to government officials; it touched every group. The 
peasant groaned under the grain tax and conscription. Workers 
raged at inflation and corruption. Intellectuals demanded a bill 
of rights. The breach within the Kuomintang grew wider; pro* 
gressives outlined plans for bringing the Communists into a 
coalition government, and reactionaries resisted. 

Few Chinese dared talk much in public, but cabinet ministers, 
bankers, industrialists, students, writers, officials, peddlers, 
coolies, all agreed in private that something must be done. They 
had little choice, since every political group but the Kuomintang 
was outlawed. There is no doubt that the vast majority of 
Chinese agreed with the short-range programme the Communists 
advocated, but few Chinese wanted Communism. Only two 
solutions could be seen. The Kuomintang might reform itself, 
give the people every right the Communists offered, and fulfil 
the promises it had made; this, however, was hardly likely, with 
the CC holding the reins. Or the Kuomintang might agree to a 
coalition. If the Communists came into the government, each 
party might act as a brake on the other and compete with it for 
the favour of the people. And perhaps, with all parties made 
legal, a democratic middle group would emerge. 

A middle group did break through the ice blanket of political 
suppression the Democratic League. It described itself as 
" standing midway between the Kuomintang on the right, and 
the Chinese Communist party on the left unreservedly opposed 
to a dictatorship of any shape, and believing implicitly in national 
unity as a prerequisite to victory/' The League was an amalgam 
of six minor parties that had come together in 1941. There was 
no way of knowing how many members it had enrolled ; an out- 
lawed party had difficulty in declaring its members, when mem- 
bership was treason. It claimed professors, writers, scholars, some 
bankers and industrialists, and a few military men. It admitted its 
weakness among the peasants; organization was risky, with the 
Kuomintang secret police working to suppress political action. 
Leaders of the League were rarely allowed to travel from city 
to city; they conducted meetings and issued statements with the 
greatest caution. They believed that they represented most of 
China, and they insisted courageously that all parties and non- 
partisan leaders be called together to discuss national issues, 
and to work towards unity and democracy before the end of the 
war. 
258 



It was summer, hot and sticky, when victory came to Chung- 
king. It was evening, and Chungking was going, about its business. 
Mothers had finished putting their children to bed, the river bank 
was full of strolling young people, the downtown shops were 
crowded with evening trade. General Wedemeyer was entertain- 
ing the British ambassador at dinner. News of the victory came 
in over the town's few radios and was relayed from telephone to 
telephone, from friend to friend. The city broke out into little 
eruptions of shouts and firecrackers, scattered and sporadic at first 
but growing to a volcano of sound and happiness within an hour. 

Men, women, and children flooded out of their homes into 
Chungking's downtown squares. Wedemeyer jcalled off the eleven 
o'clock curfew, and American soldiers joined the celebration. 
Jeeps crawled through torrents of people with twenty passengers 
clinging to them by a fingerhold. Buses staggered through the 
streets under double-deck loads, with people hanging onto the 
tops, shouting and waving flags, and dozens more clutching the 
fenders or riding on the hoods. Army trucks poured out into the 
mob. Parades carried lighted tapers. There was no time to put 
out extras, so the Central News Agency plastered huge hand- 
written announcements on its walls. Hundreds of people surged 
about the outdoor loudspeaker at the American office of infor- 
mation. MP's abandoned the American soldiers to the mob, 
and people clutched at American uniforms, cheered them, 
suffocated them. " Mei kuo ting hao, met kuo ting hao (America is 
wonderful)," they shouted. Some burst out in all the English 
they could muster with " Thank you, thank you," or thrust 
cigarettes into any American hand they could reach. 

Victory had come, the war was over and by dawn the city was 
still. The elation died quickly; peace had come, but the old govern- 
ment, the old misery, the old fears, still remained. China was no 
nearer reform than ever ; she was further from internal peace. The 
war was over, but there would be fighting and bleeding in China 
for a long time to come. 

CHAPTER 19 
VICTORY AND CIVIL WAR 

VviTHiN FORTY-EIGHT HOURS of victory civil war 
was raging across China. Radio Yenan was flashing to all its 

259 



legions the outlines of Communist strategy. To Communist armies 
everywhere sped 2hu Teh's first general order: Seize and disarm 
all Japanese garrisons; demand their surrender on the basis of 
the Potsdam declaration. Specific orders the next day clarified 
the Communists' intent. The guerrilla armies were ordered to 
drive north across the dunes and grass lands of Mongolia into 
Manchuria to join the Soviet armies hammering down from the 
north and to co-operate with the Russians in annihilating the 
trapped Japanese garrisons that lay between them. In the Yellow 
River basin Communist troops were ordered to call for immediate 
surrender of all Japanese-held railway lines as far north as the 
Great Wall and, if denied, to launch an immediate assault. 

Chungking countered Chu Teh instantly. It ordered the Com- 
munist Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies to remain at their 
posts and await instructions. A simultaneous orde? went out to 
all other Chinese troops to advance against the Japanese at once. 
Yenan snapped back: "We consider that you have given us a 
mistaken order. Such a mistake is grave. Thus we are compelled 
to express ourselves to you that we firmly refuse the order." The 
race for control of occupied China was on. 

Both the Kuomintang and the Communists had realized for a 
year that sealed within the maturing victory was nation-wide 
civil strife. The sudden ending of the war caught them both 
unprepared for the issue for which their long-range plans had 
been conceived. With savage intuition, however, both knew 
what immediate improvisations had to be made. Only the 
Americans, the blind arbiters and negotiators of the dispute 
between the two great parties, remained serenely unaware of the 
nature of the crisis; the directives of the American command 
still read, in an impossibly contradictory formula, to support the 
government of Chiang K'ai-shek and to avoid entanglement in 
Chinese internal affairs. 

The struggle that had broken out between the Central Govern- 
ment and the Communists was for physical possession of the body 
of China. The revolution so long checked by Japanese aggression 
could now no longer be denied. For the Communists the question 
boiled down to how much of their area of reform and innovation 
they could retain and how quickly they could expand into Man- 
churia in these weeks of confusion. For the Kuomintang the ques- 
tion was simply how swiftly they could re-establish their old 
order in all the areas they had controlled in 1937 and push even 
260 



farther into^ the areas ot me north that the Japanese had 
dominated for fifteen years. 

The Communists had surrounded the nerve system of railways 
and towns in North China for five years. They dominated the 
countryside. Would the Japanese hold these railways and towns 
till Chiang K'ai-shek could occupy them with his own troops? 
Or would the Japanese lay down their arms immediately to the 
Communists with whom they had been fighting and thus make 
the area north of the Yellow River a solid block of Communist 
control? Chiang, as usual, insisted that he was China, that the 
Japanese were legally bound to obey his orders and lay down 
their arms to his agents, that "law and order" could be pre- 
served only if the Kuomintang government controlled the rail 
network that ran through Communist territory. The Communists 
argued a much simpler theory with equal eloquence. They had 
fought, bled, and died for five years to wipe out these enemy posts 
and communications lines; as they saw it, their troops had won the 
right in battle to occupy the strongholds of the defeated enemy. 

The full fruit of a year of Chinese- American diplomacy became 
apparent. If unity had existed within the Chinese people, there 
would have been no problem. If Stilwell's proposals for a unified 
command had been accepted in the previous year, peace would 
now have followed victory. America, which as arbiter a year 
before might have instituted unity and guaranteed peace, could 
now act only as a partisan and save Chiang K'ai-shek at whatever 
cost. Chinese- American military plans had previously been con- 
ceived in the belief that victory would come in 1946. Wede- 
meyer's New Army in battle formation was already marching 
toward the coast in southern China at the moment when victory 
burst. A huge, well-trained Chinese force was deploying for assault 
on the port town of Kwangchowan near the Indo-China border, 
while an American convoy, already on the high seas, was sailing 
to meet it. The assault was scheduled for August 15; success was 
to have been a prelude to an all-out attack on Canton, China's 
greatest southern port, in October. Movements in China were 
timed to coincide with movements in the Pacific. As the Chinese 
in October stormed on Canton, MacArthur was to land on the 
Japanese island of Kyushu. In late spring, when MacArthur was 
to be landing in Tokyo Bay, the Chinese and Americans on the 
continent would be attacking Shanghai. According to the plan, 
victory, when it came, would find the Kuomintang armies secure 

261 



all along the Yangtze, in position to drive north up the railway 
network, so that they could crush the Communists" and disarm 
the defeated Japanese at the same time. 

Actual victory, when it surprised the world in August 1945, 
found the Chinese government in a disastrous situation. Its best 
troops were hundreds of miles from the coastal cities and towns of 
northern and central China. They were either far off base in the 
advance on Kwangchowan or still dispersed in training on the 
plateaux of the distant southwest. The area of greatest political 
importance was coastal China but to move the government 
troops over the rugged roads that led to the coastal lowlands 
would take precious months. Meanwhile the Communists might 
persuade or force the defeated Japanese garrisons all through the 
east to lay down their arms to guerrilla forces. Chiang K'ai-shek 
needed troops in eastern China desperately and immediately or else 
the fruits of eight years of battle would fall to the Communists. 
Only America could move his men in time to avert doom. 

The U.S. Army, Air Corps, and Navy moved to Chiang's 
rescue with all the resources they could marshal. The attack on 
Kwangchowan was called off and the troops directed to Canton. 
From Canton the American Navy was to take them to northern 
China. The Fourteenth and Tenth Air Forces, most of the Air 
Transport Command's cargo carriers, were organized for the 
greatest aerial troop movement in history. Eighty thousand of 
Chiang's best soldiers were concentrated for flight with all the 
speed the air forces could muster. To Nanking went the crack 
American-trained and equipped Sixth Army, which had defeated 
the Japanese in Burma. They flew to retake their capital in a 
mood of liberation and exultance, but they found at first a chill 
hostile city. Nanking gave them little welcome; it had lived too 
many years under the Japanese for daring, and it feared for its 
fortunes when the Kuomintang replaced Wang Ching-wei's 
puppet government. The Sixth Army, driving through the streets, 
called out, "We are a Chungking army we have come back 
again." But there were no cheers, no smiles; so they set about 
the cold task of waiting to disarm the Japanese. 

To Shanghai went a partially American-trained army, the 
Ninety-fourth, to meet an entirely different reception. As the 
thin, shabby soldiers stepped to the door of giant C-54's, they 
blinked at the sight of a crowd that covered the airfield and 
surged about the runways with waving banners. Cheers from 
262 



tens of thousands of voices mingled with the blare of a brass band 
and the piping of a boys' flute corps. Motion-picture sound trucks 
roared up, and cameras ground. The peasant soldiers came 
timidly down the steep ladders, trying to salute, dazed by this 
overwhelming glimpse of the people they had come to liberate. 
The liberated wore silken gowns and leather shoes; the liberators* 
feet were dusty in straw sandals. 

A third army was flown from Hankow to Peking, in the very 
heart of Communist territory, to stake down the Kuomintang's 
claim with bayonets and the American flag. Armies marched out 
of the hills and bivouacs of the hinterland and regrouped about 
American bases. Footsore and suffering, they had retreated to the 
mountains six years before; now, with the swiftness of wings, 
they retraced in victory the course of their defeat. 

The Kuomintang did not rely on its armies alone; it had 
political resources that had long since been prepared for such an 
emergency. One of the scandals of the war had been the intimacy 
between certain elements in the Chungking government and 
the puppet collaborators of the Japanese in Nanking and Peking. 
Messengers or envoys came and went, bearing messages and 
making alliances, across the battle lines. Publicly the Kuomin- 
tang denied all dealings with the traitors; privately it justified 
the various deals on the grounds of expediency. It hoped that in 
the last few days of war the puppet governments would shift 
their allegiance and fight against the Japanese if need be but 
against the Communists under any circumstances. The turncoat 
armies that were controlled by the puppets numbered between 
half a million and a million men; the Japanese had used them 
chiefly for garrisoning cities and railways in Communist territory. 
Many of them were commanded by generals who had betrayed 
the Kuomintang in open expectation of Japanese victory. Now, 
in the moment of urgency, the entire network of the puppets 
swung to the Kuomintang. In northern China six generals who 
had fought for the Japanese against the Communists were 
received back into the fold, hoisted Kuomintang banners over 
their armies, and were directed to keep the Communists out of 
the towns and railways until the government could take over. 

To counter the Kuomintang, the Communists summoned all 
their strength for a massive military effort. North China was their 
citadel, and this they meant to keep. Shantung, Shansi, Hopei, 
were pockmarked with battles as the Communists launched their 

263 



offensives against the towns, the highways, the railways. The 
Japanese, undismayed by the surrender at Tokyo, fought back 
with an intensity they had not shown for years. The traitors who 
had befriended the Japanese became staunch supporters of the 
Kuomintang, ran up the national flag, and denounced the Com- 
munists as disloyal. Within a few weeks the Communists had 
succeeded in disrupting all traffic north of the Yellow River and 
isolating almost all their guerrilla areas from government attack. 
In the bitter fighting that went on for a month the Communists 
suffered one body blow and gained one great victory. The Com- 
munists had two-thirds of Shansi, the richest of all provinces in 
China proper in mineral resources. They felt certain that with 
the war's end the capital city of Taiyuan would fall to them. 
But the shrewd old former war-lord governer of Shansi, Yen 
Hsi-shan, was the Kuomintang's agent and also a close friend of 
the Japanese. Moving his troops over the rail lines through 
Communist territory in Japanese armoured cars, he dashed into 
Taiyuan under Japanese protection and seized the railways that 
radiate out of the city. 

The loss of Taiyuan was more than balanced, for the Com- 
munists, by their seizure of Kalgan, the largest centre they had 
ever held in North China. The Japanese at Kalgan had fled 
before the approach of the Russian army and abandoned their 
supplies and arms as they ran; the Communists moved in. Kalgan 
lies just north of the Great Wall; it is a railway centre, a confused, 
dusty, strategic hinge between China and the country north of 
the Wall. Its possession gave the Communists a secure route for 
moving their guerrillas north to Manchuria. 

In South China, Communist leadership was confused and 
indecisive. The Communists had for almost a year bent every 
effort towards controlling the Shanghai area in preparation for 
co-operation with the American landing. They had invested 
some of their best talent and energy in the Shanghai delta, but 
their organization was not yet ripe. The Japanese announced 
their surrender on the eighth; on the fifteenth of August the 
Communist New Fourth Army approached Shanghai, and pla- 
cards were posted in the suburbs to hail its advent. Party organizers 
in the city whipped together their skeletal trade unions into a 
General Labour Union representing all heavy industrial workers, 
ricksha men, and others. Such a General Labour Union had 
been the powerhouse of the Communist insurrection in Shanghai 
264 



in 1927. Swiftly 50,000 workers staged a sit-down strike in a 
dozen large factories, held them for a few days, then were ejected 
by Japanese bayonets. 

For the Communists, the situation was not promising. Ameri- 
can planes were moving powerful Kuomintang armies into the 
city. The Japanese garrison still retained its arms, its heavy 
artillery, its cohesiveness ; more important, it still cherished an 
abiding hatred for the Communists and stood ready to destroy 
a Communist putsch as enthusiastically under Allied orders as 
it would have done two weeks previously on its own initiative. 

Shanghai, moreover and this was important was so en- 
raptured with victory that it was unready for a putsch of any 
kind. It had been the bastion of the Kuomintang. Although the 
city's workers had been decimated in the coup of 1927, the huge 
middle class there still saw Chiang as the living symbol of China's 
nationhood. Overnight, with victory, huge portraits of him, 
looking surprisingly boyish and youthful, emerged from the hid- 
ing-places of years; shopkeepers wove garlands of flowers and 
crfipe about the huge pictures, which looked sombrely out of 
every window. The city was obsessed with the spirit of holiday. 
The air was like wine, the people festive; parades of jubilation 
formed like froth in every street; people cheered all men marching 
in government uniform and surged irresistibly about the lush 
hotels, where recently arrived Americans disported themselves 
in the civilized luxuries so long denied them in the barbarism 
of CBI-land. 

In this haze of confusion the first explicit orders to the Shanghai 
Communists arrived from Yenan two weeks after victory. The 
local Communists were told to provoke no bloodshed, to stage 
no uprising; they waited in the suburbs while the government 
filled the city with its strength. In a few weeks the Communist 
armies began to leave the Shanghai area to join their embattled 
brothers north of the Yellow River. The first round of the struggle 
had ended with Chiang in control of the Yangtze basin, the Com- 
munists in control north of the Yellow River. Manchuria alone 
remained in dispute. 

Months later, when it became possible to reconstruct Com- 
munist strategy, it was seen to reflect a prescient political and 
military appreciation of the situation. The Communists did not 
yield the Yangtze Valley and Shanghai to Chiang K'ai-shek out 
of fear alone; they yielded because they had decided to trade 

265 



Shanghai for the much richer prize of Manchuria. The New 
Fourth Army was already moving from the eastern part of the 
Yangtze basin by early September; some of its units were speed* 
ing north in one of the most dramatic unrecorded marches in all 
history a thousand miles due north from Shanghai to Mukden, 
across the lines of Kuomintang, puppet, Japanese, and American 
troops. Thousands must have participated in the movement that 
put Changchun, Manchuria's capital, into their hands in the 
late spring of 1946. 

The struggle in the field was paralleled by negotiations between 
the Communists and the government in Chungking. A huge 
pressure from the very depths of Chinese society was acting on 
both parties to force them to peace. The outcry in the press and 
in private was a spontaneous welling up of public opinion such 
as had never been seen since the outbreak of war. " Victory has 
come," was the cry; "let it bring peace/' 

Mao Tse-tung, his personal safety guaranteed by the American 
government, flew to Chungking in an American plane, and a few 
technical agreements were quickly arrived at. The government 
promised that it would postpone its constitutional convention 
scheduled for November, though it would not promise to widen 
the membership; it promised to release some of the political 
prisoners it was holding in concentration camps. The Com- 
munists agreed to pare down their military demands to recog- 
nition of twenty Communist divisions. A conference of all parties 
was proposed for some time in the following year, though just 
what it was to do was never decided ; the Communists wanted it to 
work out a general political settlement, and the Kuomintang 
would made no promises. The negotiations deadlocked on the 
basic problem of mutual security. It is impossible to imagine in 
America the atmosphere of a bargaining process where both sides 
feel their lives are at stake; yet for twenty years terror, bitterness, 
and bloodshed had suffused every contact between these two 
groups. Thousands of Communists or suspected Communists lay 
rotting in government concentration camps even while the dele- 
gates talked of peace. 

The Communists formulated their quest of security by insisting 
that the government recognize the legitimacy of the regional 
governments they had set up behind enemy lines during the war. 
They withdrew their demand of 1944 for recognition of their 
966 



government in the Yangtze Valley, but they still demanded that 
the Central Government concede the legality of Communist 
control in Hopei, Shantung, northern Shansi, Chahar, and Jehol; 
this block of four and a half provinces is a solid chunk of territory 
which for five years had been overwhelmingly Communist. Com- 
munists had collected its taxes and defended its people against 
the Japanese. They asserted that its governments had been 
elected by popular vote. The Communists further felt that in 
such cities as Peking, Tientsin, and Shanghai, where large pro- 
Communist groups existed, the government should appoint a 
Communist vice-mayor as deputy to a Kuomintang mayor. 
The demand for regional control represented to the Communists 
a minimum guarantee of security. If the Kuomintang took over 
these local governments, they would feel that their lives were 
threatened. Chiang promised the abolition of terrorism and the 
secret police, but the Communists dared not commit their exist- 
ence to the dubious protection of Chiang K'ai-shek's promises. 
And indeed six months later Chiang's police were still arresting 
Communists and operating the old concentration camps. 

Submission to the government's demand for full Kuomintang 
control over the areas in debate meant to the Communists sub- 
mission to the old bureaucracy, the old landlords and gentry, in 
every county and village; it meant high taxes once again, high 
interest rates, and the brutality of the old village gendarmes. 
Kuomintang carpetbaggers were already conducting themselves 
with spectacular arrogance and corruption in the few cities they 
had reoccupied. Moreover the Kuomintang bureaucracy in the 
occupied areas had begun to absorb some of the most odious 
traitor officials who had .fought the Communists for the Japanese 
during the war. As the deadlock tightened, the Communists 
proposed that fresh elections be held under Kuomintang inspec- 
tion in the disputed areas, with all residents, even those who had 
fled under the Japanese, taking part; the Kuomintang refused. 

The Kuomintang saw China as a centralized state, with the 
capital appointing the governors of each province, passing laws, 
governing roads, education, divorce, and social control through- 
out the land. Under this theory of centralization the Kuomin- 
tang would control the appointment of officials down to county 
magistrates. The Communists argued that China had such diver- 
gent customs and dialects, so few roads and such primitive com- 
munications, that centralized control was impossible; therefore 

267 



the best form of government would be a federal union, similar 
to that of the United States or Russia. The national government 
should concern itself with national defence, foreign affairs, trade, 
commerce, finance, and kindred matters. Control of individual 
provinces by different parties could not lessen the unity of China 
any more than control of individual States by Republicans or 
Democrats lessens the unity of the United States. 

Chiang stood for a moment within reach of statesmanship. 
His assent to the Communists' terms would have brought peace. 
Dissent meant bloodshed and Chiang dissented. 

On October 10 a banquet for the Communist delegation was 
appropriately staged, and a meaningless statement issued; 
immediately thereafter the Communists left the capital to return 
to Yenan. The negotiations had failed. In Chiang's eyes the 
Chinese Communists had always been the agents of Russian 
policy within China. He felt that by the Sino-Soviet treaty he 
had just bought Russia off with part of the sovereignty of Man- 
churia and the independence of Outer Mongolia in return for a 
free hand within China ; with the Russians bought off, the Chinese 
Communists, supposedly their agents, would be powerless. He 
had America on his side. Hurley supported Chiang and Wede- 
meyer was ready to implement any policy approved by Hurley, 
however grave the consequences. Chiang's hand was strengthened 
as the negotiations rounded out their fourth week, by the news 
that American marines were being assigned to the occupation 
of northern China to help him. The Americans had already helped 
him secure the Yangtze Valley; now, with their finest combat 
troops moving to take northern China for him too, he could see 
no reason why he should make concessions to the Communists. 
At the Cairo conference he had been promised the right to receive 
the surrender of all the Japanese in China, and he intended to 
hold his allies to this promise. 

The battle that now flared in the north hinged on the Tientsin- 
Peking area. The Central Government's troops, armed and sup- 
plied by the Americans and protected by American air power, 
had the overwhelming advantage as they moved up to civil war. 
The Communists fought the government troops as they fought 
the Japanese, by infiltration, by guerrilla tactics, by the disruption 
of communications. The key to the entire struggle was the rail- 
ways that connected Peking with Tientsin, Tientsin with Man- 
churia. These were the nervous system of the entire government 
268 



effort, and here the Communists were paralysed. The railways 
were protected by the United States Marine Corps, a combat 
corps superior to anything in Asia; the American flag alone was 
enough to make the railways and their defenders inviolable. Until 
the government forces moved beyond the protection of that 
American flag the Communists could not attack them ; to attack the 
bases of Kuomintang troops meant an attack on the United States. 

The United States marines, the Kuomintang, the former pup- 
pets, and the Japanese army, in one of the most curious alliances 
ever fashioned, jointly guarded the railways against the Chinese 
partisans. By a bitter irony the very area where the situation was 
most tense about Peking and Tientsin was one in which Com- 
munist partisans had risked their lives time and again to rescue 
American flyers from the Japanese; crews of 6-29*8 baling out 
on their return from bombing Japan had been smuggled to safety 
by villagers who were now held to be enemies. In this area Com- 
munists now sniped at marine trains; marines shelled a village 
in retaliation. Our flag flew in the cockpit of a civil war. 

At this juncture, at the end of November 1945, Hurley resigned 
his post. In Washington, he issued a statement, without fore- 
warning either the President or the Department of State, that 
exposed the total bankruptcy of his policy. He had left Chungking 
for America early in the negotiations between Mao and Chang;' 
the breakdown proved that all Hurley's efforts over the course of a 
year had been vain, and there was no unity in China. By the logic 
of Hurley's policy America was no longer the judge in the dispute ; 
she was a partisan in a civil war. America's policy held that North 
China, the homeland of the Communists, was a legal vacuum, and 
the only legal entity qualified to fill it was Chiang K'ai-shek; it was 
therefore the duty of the marines to support Chiang K'ai-shek at 
whatever price. Hurley's policy presented the American people 
with a terrible choice Chiang K'ai-shek or Communism, the 
Central Government or chaos. No one ever mentioned a middle 
way; no one asked the Chinese people what government they 
wanted ; no one had consulted them ; no elections had been held. 
Millions in northern China gave allegiance to a group that opposed 
Chiang K'ai-shek; now our bayonets were to force Chiang's 
government down their throats whether they wanted it or not. 

Our policy had produced another monstrous result. It had 
succeeded in ranging Russia squarely against the United States 

269 



in Asia. During the period of Russia's peril, when Germany was 
ravaging her frontiers, Russian interest in China had been re- 
duced to a minimum. Her attitude toward the Chinese Com- 
munists had been one of impeccable aloofness, though in her 
controlled press she repeatedly showed her discontent with 
Chiang's political system. Russian press criticisms of China made 
almost precisely the same points that were being jnade at the 
time by the joint directors of American policy, Stilwell and Gauss. 
Down to the autumn of 1944 the policy of Russia and America 
in the Orient had moved along parallel lines toward the same 
objective, the establishment of a democratic, unified China. 
When Hurley became American ambassador, Russian and 
American policies began to diverge. America was now whole- 
heartedly behind the Kuomintang. Our unconditional support of 
Chiang and our increasing penetration of China struck the Soviets 
more and more as outright control. Criticism of America rarely 
appeared in the Chungking press, but the Russian Embassy was 
extremely sensitive to the occasional vituperative criticism of the 
Soviet Union permitted by the Chinese censorship; the Russians 
knew that the senior leaders of the Kuomintang detested them. 
The alliance of the Americans and the Kuomintang seemed 
like a direct menace to Russia. 

The signing of the Sino-Soviet treaty in August 1945 marked a 
halfway point in the three-way relationship of Russia, China, and 
America. This treaty was forced on China as much by American 
diplomacy as by Moscow. All the basic points had been agreed 
on at Yalta in the preceding January; the concessions that the 
Russians won from China were offered to them by the Americans 
as the price of Russian participation in the war against Japan. 
When T. V. Soong went to Moscow six months after the Yalta 
agreement in the hope of negotiating a complete treaty, he found 
that he was required to assent to an agreement already roughed 
out in advance by two other powers. 

Much of the treaty could be justified as a normal working 
understanding between two neighbouring countries. Outer Mon- 
golia became independent; this was legal recognition of a situa- 
tion that had existed in fact for twenty years. Russia secured by 
the treaty joint control of the Manchurian railways; such control 
had functioned before the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 
1931. Joint operation was probably a necessity in view of the 
curious geographical conformation of the Sovietmaritime province. 



The bitter heart of the treaty lay in the clauses requiring China 
to give up her sovereign control of Port Arthur and Dairen. 
Dairen was made an international free port, with special rights 
for Russia, and the Russians received the right to establish a naval 
base at Port Arthur on Chinese soil. Such a treaty would have 
been called imperialist in the old days; it remains so today. In 
August, with the signing of the treaty, the Russians were prepared 
either to protect themselves against a hostile coalition in the Far 
East or to establish friendly relations if a new united China 
emerged after the war. The treaty promised full respect and sup- 
port for the recognized government of China, in other words 
Chiang K'ai-shek. But it meant that Russia now had two excellent 
ports on its flanks for use either in trade or in war. 

The leaguing of American military forces in direct coalition 
with the Kuomintang against the Communists provoked the 
next Soviet move. If we sought security in China by espousing the 
Kuomintang, the Soviet Union meant to counter by espousing 
the Chinese Communists. Russia had behaved with rigid correct- 
ness towards the Communists of China in the few weeks following 
Japan's defeat; a Red Army general had flown to Yenan to tell 
the Chinese Communists that armed Chinese Communists would 
not be permitted to enter Manchuria. Now suddenly Communist 
armies began to appear all up and down the Manchurian rail- 
ways; they were fighting with obvious Russian approval, against 
the Kuomintang divisions that were supported by the Americans. 
There seemed to be a direct working understanding between the 
Chinese Communists and the Russians for the first time since 
J 935> American action had brought this about. 

Having rooted themselves in Manchuria, the Russians next 
proceeded to a monumental blunder, an act that enormously 
complicated the delicate task of unity. They sacked Manchurian 
industry. This conduct could be explained, but it could not be 
condoned. The Soviet Union had been devastated by the German 
war, and Japan's industrial empire in Manchuria evoked a vandal 
enthusiasm in the Russians; they needed machinery, and they 
took it. A second explanation could be given: with the prospect 
of a hostile China growing to the south, the devastation of 
Manchurian industry seemed a primary defensive measure. 
Neither accounting was a justification. Manchuria's machinery, 
its industrial plant, had been built by Chinese labour; the 
Japanese had engineered it, but they had sweated the mines and 

371 



factories out of Chinese sinew. The installations belonged to 
China by right of sovereignty and as reparations for the vast 
damage Japan had done her. Whether the Communists, the 
Kuomintang, or coalition was to control China, Manchurian 
industry was the cornerstone of China's future. However much or 
little the Russians took from Manchuria, their action left endur- 
ing suspicion and hostility in the Chinese mind, and for the first 
time in many years the right wing in Chinese politics had a 
popular issue on which to appeal to the country. 

There is an unhappy time-lag in high politics. At the very 
moment when Russia was embarking on its new policy in the 
Orient out of fear, America was attempting to reverse its previous 
policy in the Orient. By repudiating Hurley's diplomacy America 
hoped to re-establish its position as nonpartisan in China's 
internal dispute. Marshall was about to leave for China, to find 
there a situation more dangerous and difficult than any that had 
existed throughout the war in Asia. Armed with a policy that 
was twelve months overdue, he was instructed to create a peace 
out of the sorrow and bitterness of a raging civil war. 

Marshall arrived in a China where all normal political processes 
had been paralysed. To have expected success as complete in his 
China mission as in his military victories would have been beyond 
reality. The measure of the man's greatness is in his stupendous 
personal evocation of a truce, which *however fragile and shaky 
has persisted month after month beyond all hope and expectation. 

The unexampled complexity of Marshall's task stemmed partly 
from the nature of America's blundering role in the post-war 
Pacific, partly from the nature of Chinese politics. Marshall's 
first task was to re-establish the integrity of American diplomacy 
and secure acceptance for himself as high judge in a dispute 
already mottled with ineradicable malevolence. But he had to 
project this concept of American statecraft across a situation 
where, militarily, America already stood unclean as partisan in 
the very dispute he was judging. His predecessor had left him as 
legacy a policy of armed American intervention and a commit- 
ment of support to the Kuomintang which he could not dis- 
honour although this policy cut directly across the diplomacy of 
peace he was trying to make effective. His second task was to 
bring together at a single council table a vigorous, dynamic, cock- 
sure Communist Party and a decadent, unprincipled, corrupt 
governing party and persuade the two to discuss once more a 
272 



subject they had been discussing for eight years without the 
slightest approach to solution. 

The varying attitudes of the two parties to the problems of 
truce and unity as they entered the Marshall negotiations at the 
end of 1945 and as they persisted all through 1946 fell into two 
broad patterns. The Communists insisted on a political settle- 
ment to precede an administrative settlement: they held almost 
a third of China, dominated almost a third of its population, and 
insisted on a broad political reorganization of the government to 
give them a voice in the basic decisions of the future commen- 
surate with their real power in the provinces. The Communists 
insisted that before such a government could be set up, the Kuo- 
mintang must agree in principle that their one-party dictatorship 
be liquidated. Only then would they agree to discuss the problems 
of restoration of communications and subordination of Communist 
units in a national army. 

The Kuomintang on the other hand clung to the fiction of 
legitimacy with the desperation of doomed men. They insisted 
that the Communists commit themselves to obedience, both 
military and administrative, before political problems could be 
discussed; the Kuomintang, indeed, promised all things to all 
men freedom of speech and press, the end of dictatorship, the 
abolition of secret police. But the promises were all post-dated 
cheques good only in the nebulous future when Communist 
submission should have created unity. Even as the promises were 
made, the concentration camps of the government still held their 
political prisoners, and the secret police still hunted down new 
candidates for extermination. 

By January, Marshall had succeeded in drawing together both 
parties in two simultaneous accords: one political, the other 
military. A Political Consultation Conference, called together at 
Marshall's urging and including Kuomintang, Communists, 
members of the Democratic League, and non-partisans, agreed 
on a programme for the abolition of the Kuomintang dictator- 
ship and the establishment of a multi-party interim government 
to prepare the nation for a stable post-war regime. Militarily, the 
Communists and government agreed to a general cease-fire order 
throughout the land and the incorporation of Communist units 
in a one-to-five ratio in a new national army. 

The agreements were no sooner confirmed than both parties 

set out to strain at the rules and see how much pressure they 

Kc 273 



would bear. The Kuomintang Central Executive Committee met 
in March at a session where the new reactionary majority ran a 
steamroller over the moderates who wished to abide by the accord. 
The CEC insisted that China's new president who was certain 
to be Chiang K'ai-shek have almost despotic powers; it repu- 
diated the principle of cabinet responsibility to a popular legis- 
lature; it cut Communist and minority participation to fractional 
representation in the proposed new government; and, using the 
gentle phrase "trusteeship/' clung to the old principle that the 
Kuomintang alone had the right to guide the destiny of new China. 

The Communists were ready to strike back with reflex speed. 
The early post-war months had seen them sweep up to the 
interior of Manchuria. Now they countered the Kuomintang's 
rupture of the Chungking accord by an all-out storm assault on 
the Manchurian railways which was capped by their seizure of 
the Manchurian capital, Changchun, and their occupation of the 
entire railway system from Changchun north to the Russian 
border. 

Marshall, who had flown to America in triumph after his first 
truce, returned in late April to find his work undone. The 
prestige of the Kuomintang had been shattered by the Communist 
victories in Manchuria; Chiang was adamant on the point that 
before conversations could begin a second time he must re- 
establish his power at Changchun either by force of arms or by 
Communist submission. The Communists, more confident than 
ever, were now convinced that America was in active league 
with the Kuomintang. Despite Marshall's personal integrity, 
American ships continued to move government troops north to 
the battle zone of Manchuria; American experts and technicians 
arrived at Shanghai with every boat from the Pacific to strengthen 
the government's administration; American relief supplies, 
wretchedly maladministered by the government, created wealth 
for profiteers at the coast, while peasants starved in Communist 
territory. 

Again, Marshall brought his personal prestige to bear. The 
Communists evacuated Changchun and the government armies 
entered almost without bloodshed. Chiang flew north immedi- 
ately to inspect his victorious troops and the Kuomintang press 
burst into paeans of enthusiasm for the all-out mopping-up drive 
they felt sure would follow. Kuomintang armies pressed on for 
several days towards the Sungari River and Harbin. Then, 
274 



having satisfied his prestige and vanity, Chiang returned, per- 
mitted a truce to begin, and negotiations resumed. The armies 
in the north waited on decision at the capital, gathering strength 
for whatever future task might be given them. 

The second truce differed from the first. The first had been 
entered into with that slim hope that comes only from a belief that 
the future is too terrible to be true. The second lacked even that; 
it spun itself out in an atmosphere of mounting terror. As in a 
Greek tragedy, each participant seemed urged on to a divinely 
appointed and tragically inescapable doom. 

The Kuomintang seemed determined that in their final choice 
the Chinese people should have no alternative to rule-by-terror 
except rule-by-Communism. All through the summer months, 
wherever the government's machinery of dictatorship could trap 
them, the liberals and democrats who offered the only non- 
totalitarian leadership in the land were either killed, imprisoned, 
or silenced by fear. Secret assassins singled out for cold-blooded 
murder not Communists but defenceless members of the Demo- 
cratic League who had spoken their minds too freely. In Kun- 
ming, refugee professors sought safety beneath the roof of the 
American consulate. In the wake of Chiang's trip to Manchuria, 
seventy-seven newspapers and periodicals were suppressed by the 
censors of Peking. Two newspapers were suppressed in Canton. 
In Peking machine-gun nests were set up by the government 
armies to sweep the streets in the event of trouble. In Shanghai, 
the police registered the intellectuals and "thinkers", listing their 
names and giving them identification cards of varied colours. All 
through central China, the promises the Kuomintang had made 
in the flush of victory were dishonoured. In North China the 
inevitable and expected incident happened. Communist guerrillas 
who had watched American marines league with Kuomintang 
troops to bar them from the railway lines for so many months, 
grew trigger-happy. A field detachment of guerrillas ambushed an 
American convoy on the highway between Tientsin and Peking, 
and Americans and Communists killed each other. The Kuo- 
mintang greeted the incident with sedate good cheer as finally 
sealing Communist-American enmity. The Communists immedi- 
ately unloosed a barrage of propaganda denouncing America, and 
declaring despite all contrary evidence that they had attacked 
only because the Americans had been accompanying Kuomin- 
tang troops, 

275 



By late summer, the elaborate structure of truce and American 
neutrality that Marshall had sought to create was crumbling 
rapidly. Marshall co-opted a wise and dignified American 
missionary, Dr. J. Leighton Stuart, to be ambassador as his fellow- 
envoy. And within a few weeks the two men issued a joint state- 
ment admitting the failure of their diplomacy and declaring that 
it was a seeming impossibility to arrive at any peaceful solution 
agreeable to both parties. 

The Marshall-Stuart statement was followed within a few days 
by the Generalissimo's address on the anniversary of V-J Day. 
Almost two years had passed since the Stilwell crisis had brought 
the great struggle in China to the point of decision. The Generalis- 
simo's bland pronunciamento, however, revealed a mind and an 
understanding unchanged by all that had gone before. He still 
held that there could be peace only by prior submission or sur- 
render of the Communist armies to the national government; and 
that that national government would be determined by the 
National Assembly the Kuomintang had hand-picked so care- 
fully ten long years before. 

The hot, humid months of summer passed on. On the fringes 
of the Yellow River basin, government and Communist troops 
conducted minor campaigns against each other. The Communists 
held most of the north and their troops twined themselves about 
the few railways the government controlled. The government 
held the Yangtze valley and pumped more supplies, more men, 
more American equipment to the railways it dominated in the 
north. Sultry negotiations stumbled on towards the ever-more- 
distant mirage of political settlement, while each man prayed for 
some miracle to intervene before the final attack from which 
there could be no turning back. 



CHAPTER 20 
CHINA AND THE FUTURE 

To EXPECT STABILITY in China in our generation would 
be childish. China must change or die. 

Within our time she must transfer half a billion people from 
the world of the Middle Ages into the world of the atomic bomb. 
The West suffers almost fatally from a crisis of dislocation, 
276 



because the work of our hands has outstripped the work of our 
conscience; the peril of the Chinese is even greater. In addition 
to the problems of today, the Chinese must solve the problems 
of yesterday industrialization and railways, the fostering of 
universal education, the nurture of the scientific attitude. And 
there is very little time. The great problem of China is whether 
both parties can agree on a programme of change broad enough 
to meet the need of the overwhelming mass of the Chinese people. 
If they can, change will come peacefully; if they cannot, armies 
will march across the land, ravaging its people and imperilling 
every nation in the world. 

The future has seldom challenged any country as it challenges 
China today. Between latitude 20 and latitude 50 on the far shore 
of the Pacific from us is the greatest number of human beings in 
the world with one collective history. This human mass is so huge 
that no one knows how large it is. Estimates of China's popula- 
tion run from 400,000,000 to 550,000,000; the discrepancy itself 
is greater than the population of the United States. This mass of 
human beings must be mobilized for the greatest of adventures. 
They must be given justice, must be taught to build and create, 
must be educated, must absorb within a few generations all those 
changes the Western world has been trying to master for five 
centuries with indifferent success. 

On the need for this mobilization all factions in China agree. 
It has been too long the custom, even within China, to stress her 
terrifying history of disunity and the even more terrible prospect 
of further civil war. Yet the demands of the future are so huge 
that if reconstruction is once set in progress, the talents and 
energies of all will be so fully utilized that little margin will be 
left for political violence. China must build the same railways 
over the same valleys, must open the same mines, clear the same 
rivers, erect the same steel mills, whether the Kuomintang or the 
Communists, or both, or neither control her destiny. The promise 
of the future against the dread of war is the greatest uniting force 
in Chinese politics today. 

The reconstruction of China has been in the blueprint stage 
for forty years. The first plan for Westernization was submitted 
to a boy emperor by a group of reformers almost fifty years ago. 
The Emperor had the necessary documents drawn up for a fiat 
Westernization. His decrees so amazed the court of Peking, which 
literally thought him mad, that the Empress Dowager staged a 



palace revolution and imprisoned him until his death. The plans 
were forgotten while the Empress ran China to ruin in such a vivid 
and vicious fashion that the entire Manchu Empire collapsed. 

Sun Yat-sen was [the next to work out a plan for China's 
future. In 1921 he published a book called The International 
Development of China, which was an open appeal to British and 
American capital to invest in the industrialization of his country. 
For the Kuomintang, Sun's book remains today the supreme 
national plan. A group of China's engineers, during the war, tried 
to make an itemized programme of Sun's industrial targets. 
Chiang K'ai-shek appropriated the engineers' studies and incor- 
porated them in his own book, China's Destiny. Chiang's figures 
will certainly be revised under the scrutiny of technical experts 
and with fuller knowledge, but as they stand they are interesting 
as signposts to the future. Every plan ever conceived for China 
starts with a fundamental handicap, since basic physical data 
about the land are pitifully inadequate. Only one- third of China 
has ever been surveyed by modern geological methods; its border- 
lands may hold treasures richer than anything the world knows 
of at present. Its own people are a mystery to its scholars, for 
there are no adequate statistics by which to analyse their daily 
life. The plans of Chiang K'ai-shek are based, therefore, on a 
necessarily incomplete estimate of her resources. 

China's coal deposits are known to be large enough to guarantee 
her well-being as far as anyone can see into the future. China is 
almost as rich in coal as America or Western Europe; she has an 
estimated 240,000,000,000 tons underground about a quarter 
of a trillion and other reserves still unexplored. Till recently it 
was believed that China was poor in iron ore, the most optimistic 
estimates setting her underground resources at 1,600,000,000 
tons, better than a billion and a half; but the Japanese declared 
during the war that they had discovered further deposits of 
1,200,000,000 tons, or nearly a billion and a quarter, near the 
Korean border. If this claim can be substantiated, it will almost 
double China's known iron resources. Iron and coal are the 
crucial minerals, but China also had a handful of blue chips 
that are enormously important in modern metallurgy. She has 
the world's greatest known supplies of tungsten and antimony, 
metals that have magical value when mixed with steel. Her 
magnesite deposits are thought to be the greatest in the world, 
and her bauxite ores, for aluminium, are substantial. China lacks 
278 



copper, lead, and zinc, so far as is known at present, and pet- 
roleum is another question mark. During the war oil outcroppings 
were unearthed across Sinkiang from Kashgar to the Jade Gate 
at the Chinese terminus of the Great Wall; this distance is an arc 
of some 1500 miles. Development may prove the fields as great 
as those of the Caribbean or the Persian Gulf, or it may prove 
them to be a false hope. No one knows. 

Perhaps the finest of China's treasures are her potential sites of 
hydroelectric power. Western China backs up to the high wall 
of Tibet, whose mountains are covered with perpetual snow. 
Rivers pour down from these mountains and from the parent 
plateau in torrents, which both ravage China's land and make it 
fruitful ; almost anywhere in the course of their swift fall from the 
highlands they may be checked by dams and thus provide 
practically unlimited power. China's hydroelectric sites fit into 
the pattern of her resources magnificently. Most of these sites lie 
in western China, far from the coal or other mineral energy, where 
they are most needed. To develop them would of course require 
staggering sums of money and material, but the ultimate effect 
would be revolutionary. Szechwan, the great base province of 
China, generated 25,000 kilowatts annually during the war; all 
of Free China had a total of 60,000 kilowatts. The projected 
Yangtze gorge project will turn out 10,000,000 kilowatts annually, 
once it is in operation. 

The first step toward utilizing China's resources is to develop 
communications. Transportation is the prime and critical factor 
in China's rebirth; the mountains must be pierced, the rivers 
controlled and bridged, before she can begin to live as a modern 
nation. There are millions of villages in China, each pinned 
relentlessly to a roadless map. Away from the few roads and rail- 
ways is a land that is almost jungle; hundreds of square miles, 
tens of millions of people, are still served by footpaths as narrow as 
a ship's gangplank. Thousands may starve while only a mountain 
range divides them from a region of glut. The peasants of China's 
villages cannot become part of tomorrow until the roads reach 
them. 

The programme in China's Destiny sees China developing her 
resources and communications in a series of ten-year plans. With- 
in the first ten years she wants 25,000 miles of railway, as com- 
pared to her 12,000 prewar miles of road and the five or six 
thousand leftfloperating at war's end ; eventually she wants 100,000 

279 



miles, as against America's 236,000. China also wants, in the long 
run, a million miles of highway, or ten times as much as she had 
before the war. To operate over these roads and rails 23,000 
locomotives and 350,000 freight cars will have to be built or 
imported; China needs 3,000,000 automobiles for her roads, and 
she wants factories that will be producing half a million new auto- 
mobiles annually within ten years. Shipping is a critical need. 
Before the war approximately 1,500,000 tons of shipping travelled 
China's coastal and river waters; peace left her with only 100,000 
tons of shoddy, war-damaged craft. As an immediate minimum, 
she needs at least her prewar total; her national goal is set at 
an ultimate 15,000,000 tons. 

Heavy industry must be developed hand in hand with the 
transportation system. Free China produced from 10,000 to 
50,000 tons of steel annually during the war. Within ten years 
China wants to have an industry that can turn out at least 
5,000,000 tons of fabricated steel or iron each year. America can 
produce 90,000,000 tons a year: 5,000,000 tons will represent only 
a fraction of China ? s needs, and if reconstruction marches ahead 
as scheduled, imports of prefabricated metals will be required 
from abroad in huge quantities. China's ferric ores are slim; 
judging her future on the basis of known deposits of iron, she may 
never become a great industrial power in the American sense, but 
vital local productive regions will grow up. There are three areas 
in which heavy industry will probably develop Manchuria, 
Shansi, and Hunan because there coal, ore, and transport 
facilities converge in a convenient pattern. Moreover, many 
smaller steel plants will probably be built scattered through- 
out China, to turn out from 50 to 500 tons a day from local 
deposits of coal and iron close to the market. 

Some Chinese thinkers, while admitting China's poverty in 
high-grade iron ores, point out that this is not necessarily the 
handicap to progress it might have been twenty years ago. Ours is 
the age of light metals of aluminium, magnesium, and their 
alloys. In the light-earth metals China possesses huge undeveloped 
resources that require only electric power for their development. 
If great hydroelectric plants are built as projected, China will 
have this power in abundance. 

China's other industrial goals are equally ambitious. They 
include a power plant capable of turning out 20,000,000 kilo- 
watts a year, half hydraulically, half by fuel; a million new homes 
280 



each year ; 320,000 cotton looms, 1 5,000 woollen looms, and 94,000 
silk looms. China believes that in the first five years of peace she 
will require 90,000 tools for her precision industries. Chinese 
planners now say that they will require 8,000,000 telephones and 
12,000,000 miles of telephone cable to equip the country as 
thoroughly in communications as modern life demands. Some 
American experts believe, however, that China would do well to 
skip the conventional stage of telephone development and jump 
directly into the age of radio. With modern radio equipment 
and multifrequency channels, cumbersome poles, wires, and other 
installations of conventional telephone systems may be avoided. 
China, with her rugged terrain and poor roads, would find radio 
far more convenient than communication by wire. 

All these goals are minimal. When they are achieved, then 
China can begin to build a truly modern state and begin to plan 
production remotely resembling a Western standard of industry. 
American industry can turn out one automobile for each twenty 
persons a year; at the completion of her minimal industriali- 
zation China will be able to make one auto for each 900 people. 

The physical engineering of the new China will be stupendous, 
but it will require a human engineering even greater and more 
revolutionary. Americans in China frequently become obsessed 
with the slowness and uncertainty of the political machinery of 
administration; this inefficiency arises from the fact that the 
number of Chinese who understand Western techniques and 
civilization is severely limited. Thoroughly educated people in 
China probably total only a fraction of the number of educated 
men and women in New York or Washington alone. Education 
is not a luxury for China but a necessity as important as the 
building of railways or the creation of an army possibly more 
so. One Chinese estimate sets as a target the training of two and 
a half million people within the first ten years of peace. Over a 
million will be needed in public health, hygiene, nursing, and 
pharmacy, another million in industry. Some minimum estimates 
call for 110,000 civil engineers, 41,900 mechanical engineers, 
230,000 fully qualified doctors, 250,000 architects, 12,000 
electrical engineers. The staggering scale of the task can be 
judged from the fact that in these professions China possesses at 
present probably less than 10 per cent of the necessary personnel. 
How is a nation to go about training any such startling number of 
Ki 281 



specialists in a university system that enrolled about 40,000 
students at its peak? Where will the teachers come from? Who 
will supply the laboratories and buildings for the training of this 
force? And how will the even greater number of foremen, super- 
visors, and skilled labourers be recruited? 

Building a fresh network of universities, technical schools, and 
engineering institutes would be a huge task anywhere in the world. 
It can be done within a generation, as Russia has shown, but in 
China the diffusion of knowledge would be peculiarly difficult, for 
social barriers complicate the situation most discouragingly. 
There is no easy ladder of ambition from shop to drawing board, 
from working class to middle class. The lines between the middle 
and the working class are drawn with relentless rigidity, and the 
contempt of the white-collar class for the toiling masses is monu- 
mental; "face" is involved in abstention from dirty labour. 
Chinese technicians and engineers, drawn from the Chinese 
middle class and trained either abroad or in Chinese schools, are 
usually reluctant to put on overalls and sweat in mill and factory 
along with the regular workers; the old American concept of 
beginning at the bottom and working one's way to the top is 
noticeably absent from the mentality of too many Chinese 
university graduates. The normal graduate does not want to 
start as an oil-soaked apprentice in a factory; he wants a clean 
job. China's prewar industry was an industry of sweatshops and 
child labour, of fourteen-hour days and seven-day weeks. The 
reluctance of a university graduate to become part of this system 
of social slavery is understandable; nevertheless it complicates 
the task of training the hundreds of thousands of skilled and semi- 
skilled needed so quickly and so badly. 

If these figures or this brief outline of China's dreams gives the 
impression of a well-organized, shrewdly conceived planning 
process, the impression is totally wrong. The outlines are huge, 
the dimensions clear, but within the over-all framework planning 
has been as confused as anything else the Chungking govern- 
ment has done. Yet it is difficult to lay all the blame for bad 
planning on Chungking; fundamentally the government has 
been unable to plan because of the international situation in 
which it has been caught. Three or four conflicting agencies, it 
is true, have all been drawing up central plans, unco-ordinated 
and conflicting. It is true that during the war the emphasis was on 
the war itself and the best engineers were engaged in production 
282 



and administration, not drawing paper worlds for the future. 
But it is still truer that China's planners have been unable to plan 
well because of the world in which China has been forced to live. 

For example, one of the more important minor controversies 
in planning for the future has been the differing opinions 
between the heavy-industry planners and the light-industry 
planners; this dispute can be settled only when the world itself 
is at peace. The advocates of a plan stressing light industry say 
that now that peace has come, China faces certain immediate 
problems to find employment for her urban workers, to meet 
the almost insatiable demand of the exhausted interior for con- 
sumer goods, to enter world trade with goods that will bring quick 
returns in foreign exchange for the purchase of more equipment. 
Dollar for dollar, any sum invested in light industry in cotton 
machinery, for example will give several times the number of 
workers gainfully employed as the same sum invested in heavy 
industry; further, in terms of human happiness it will slake the 
critical thirst for useful things that has grown up in China in the 
past ten years. The Chinese people, the advocates of light industry 
say, deserve happiness; they want and need new clothes, medi- 
cines, shoes, radios, warm blankets, clean wheat flour, far more 
than they need belching blast furnaces to turn out tanks, airplanes, 
or heavy equipment. The other planners, who stress heavy in- 
dustry, think of a warring world. They want China to be 
industrially self-sufficient, able to meet any future threat in the 
Far East ; they insist that the government must have so strong an 
industrial base that neither a resurgent Japan nor any other power 
will dare challenge her. This means steel, heavy fabrication, 
strategic railways. 

The problem of geographical distribution of industry is likewise 
related to peace. Shall it be concentrated again on the coast, or 
shall it be dispersed inland for security against invasion? Will it 
follow the line of mineral resources in the north, or will it develop 
inferior resources in southern and central China, farther from the 
real or fancied threat of Russian expansion? 

Both the Kuomintang and the Communists are vague in dis- 
cussing the demarcation of spheres for private and public enter- 
pi ise; at this point their ideologies almost coincide. They agree 
that basic industry mines, railways, power, steel is the 
responsibility of the government. Prewar Chinese capital lacked 
the courage, the skill, the vision, and the funds to organize the 

283 



critically important heavy industries; the government, in the 
interest of the nation, must take over heavy industry. But both 
parties agree sincerely that a very large proportion of the Chinese 
economy will remain for ever the province of free private enter- 
prise; their reasoning about this differs, but their conclusions arc 
the same. The Kuomintang wishes to leave a wide opportunity 
for private capital, partly because its basic philosophy calls for 
such enterprise and partly because its political support comes 
from the business world. The Communists wish to leave light in- 
dustries in the hands of free private enterprise, because they 
distrust the abilities of the Kuomintang bureaucrats. They feel 
that free business men, out of the time-honoured profit motive, 
can create more quickly than anybody else the goods for which 
the peasants are crying. Most Western observers feel that the 
government bureaucracy is so thinly endowed with first-class 
managerial talent that an attempt to place all industry under 
bureaucratic control will delay its development for decades.The 
run-of-the-mill bureaucrat proved himself so corrupt during the 
war, in many instances so very stupid, that the rich field of con- 
sumer goods would prove almost too great a temptation. People 
will eat and clothe themselves more quickly if their supply is left 
in the hands of profit-seeking business men rather than career- 
seeking bureaucrats. 

The peasant is the weak point in all China's post-war planning. 
Unless his standard of living goes up, China's industry will have 
no true domestic market but will be linked to the uncontrollable 
cycles of world trade and the menace of war; unless he is helped, 
80 per cent of China will remain unchanged. To raise his standard 
of living, reform must start in the village, with the problems of 
landholding, rent, and credit, by the introduction of modern 
agricultural methods and seeds. Unless reform roots itself in the 
village, the industry of the planners will mean little. So far as 
the peasant is concerned, the new industry will be a Christmas 
tree decorated with imported tinsel bearing presents only for 
others, but none for himself. 

The Chinese government has some of the finest agrarian legis- 
lation in the world on its statute books. Its scholars have heaped up 
mounds of monographs explaining what the peasant suffers from 
and what must be done to help him. But neither law nor mono- 
graph is enough; what is needed is a conviction that change must 
284 



come, and this conviction is dramatically lacking in the thought 
of the conventional planners. Prewar Chinese industry did little 
to solve rural problems. Its labour came from the peasants, who 
were forced off their farms by pressures they could no longer 
meet and who accepted work under the most savage conditions of 
exploitation in the city. It produced goods for city use and cheap 
gadgets for export but returned little to the countryside. When it 
pushed its cheap textiles in the interior, it further complicated the 
peasants' problems. Many peasants had spent their otherwise idle 
days at handicraft occupations such as silk-weaving and cotton- 
spinning; these occupations were wiped out by the competition of 
cheap machine-made goods of superior quality, and in many areas 
the peasants' income was sharply reduced. 

The government has not yet seriously considered how to use the 
surplus labour energy of the periods when the peasant does not 
have to work full time in the fields. Rural electrification, nourished 
by the projected hydroelectric sites, might provide cheap and 
convenient energy for the revival of handicraft industries in the 
countryside. With electricity and simple machines the peasant 
might turn out a product of finer quality to compete with city 
goods. The co-operatives that were established during the war 
might form a valuable pattern for such an experiment; during the 
war the government regarded these decentralized industrial co- 
operatives as a philanthropic and social endeavour rather than 
as a promise for China's future. But the best-planned integration 
of industry with the peasant's needs will not provide a complete 
solution for the problems of the countryside. The peasant will 
remain primarily a peasant, and his critical problems will remain 
linked to the earth. Above all he needs justice, a fairer share of the 
crops he raises, before his discontent can be ended, before he can 
begin to support and enjoy the industry his taxes are to build. 

It is here, on the rock of village reform, that the Communists 
and the Kuomintang are most apt to split. The cleavage will come 
in the same way in a thousand different villages when new ideas 
begin to etch themselves into the minds of the peasants. Change 
in any one part of China will be reflected everywhere else as 
peasants agitate and demand that their local gentry yield the old 
power in the village. Thousands of peasants will refuse to pay 
extortionate rent or interest as soon as they find they can get 
away with it; they will refuse to bow in fawning servility to the 
dictates of the village elders and village gendarmes. Riots and 

285 



local disturbances cannot be prevented, and the two great parties 
will not be able to stand apart from such disturbances; one of 
them must inevitably champion the peasant and spur him on to 
take a greater share of the land's wealth, while the other must no 
less inevitably hang back and speak for the group that wishes to 
hold what it has. All over China the ancient system will sag and 
buckle; everywhere there will be the crackling of sporadic 
violence. There will be pain, frustration, fury. Long before this 
generalized crisis makes itself felt, well before the dream world 
of the future casts its shadow over the paddy fields, it will be 
necessary for China to have that new and united government of 
which now all men speak. 



CHAPTER 2 I 

TENTATIVELY, THEN? . . . 

WHAT ARE THE chances for such a united, enduring 
government in China? 

Unity is a word that has been worn meaningless by years of 
talk in Chungking. Many of us have wished that there were a 
mint for words as there is for coins, so that when the edges of a 
word have become blurred and its legend obscure it could be 
exchanged, as a coin can, for a new one as crisp and sharp as the 
old when first used. Unity is such a word. Unity means simply a 
Chinese state under one flag, guarding its own borders from the 
Amur to Annam, from the Pamirs to the ocean, controlled by a 
government in which Kuomintang, Communists, and other 
groups can speak freely and participate jointly in policy making. 

The creation of such a government is one of those terribly 
perilous and difficult tasks in which our world today abounds. 
Success or failure depends entirely upon the future of two inter- 
acting sets of rivalries: one within China itself, the other between 
the two dominant powers of the world today, the U.S.A. and the 
U.S.S.R. 

The rivalry within China is too often seen as a simple clash of 
two power-hungry parties, the Kuomintang and the Com- 
munists. But the most primitive and most truthful way to 
express China's politics today is to say that the Chinese people 
are seeking a government that will give them change. A revolution 
286 



is stirring and shaking every province, every county, every village 
in the land making its demands of every man in bitter and direct 
invasion of his personal life. It is working in the columns of 
hungering refugees, in the bivouacs of every regiment, in the 
memory of every soldier who marched to disaster across the 
bare mountains and cold paddy fields. 

In the changes that history demands of China, one large group 
must lose its privilege in order that another even larger group 
may gain. For centuries the peasants of China have worn them- 
selves to desperation in serfdom to those who control the land 
and government; for centuries the cruel and graceful men who 
dominate Chinese society have had all the weight of morality, 
law, and power on their side. The struggle between the landed 
and the landless, the well-fed and the hungry, is as old as the story 
of China. But now with the injection of new techniques, new learn- 
ing, new needs, the grip of the gentry is threatened for the first time. 

Today China stands at a pinnacle of historic crisis. The dangers 
are sharp and clear. First is the danger that the feudal-minded 
men who control the Kuomintang may try to transfer their 
ancient vested rights to the new world of tomorrow as their 
counterparts in Japan did a century ago. From the Kuomintang's 
blind resistance to change comes the second danger: that the 
Communists may foster the bitterness against all China's time- 
crusted iniquities so skilfully that the people will be willing to give 
up new liberties, almost within their grasp, in order to rectify the 
ancient wrongs. 

For the first time in Chinese history the struggle is written down 
in clear political terms. The war lords have ceased to confuse the 
pattern of Chinese politics they have been pushed far back to the 
marches of inner Asia, where within a few decades they will 
wither away. Chinese politics will be moulded by three well- 
defined political groups the right wing of the Kuomintang, the 
men of the middle way, and the Communists. 

The greatest danger to peace in China is the right wing of the 
Kuomintang, the dominant party machine. This machine is the 
political expression of Nationalist army leaders, feudal landlords, 
and the war-inflated bureaucracy. These men have benefited 
most by the old way of life; for peace to be effective these groups 
must give up most. In vast areas of China only they can give im- 
mediate implementation to the policies of any new government. 

287 



Theycontrol the Kuomintang and the "legal "government, which 
is the only government America recognizes; if anything should 
happen to Chiang K'ai-shek, they will nominate his successor. 

These groups of the right-wing Kuomintang hold the law in 
their hands; the local codes that govern the villages of China were 
written by their forefathers, and justice is meted out by their 
appointees. In a sense these men are pitiful, for they guard 
brilliant relics of Chinese culture, philosophy, and tradition and 
cannot understand how or where this culture can be made to 
fit into the modern world. Under their stewardship Chinese 
political thought has lost all inner fruitfulness, has become dead 
and sterile. Their war record of leadership was one of progressive 
failure; they could supply no social dynamic to rally men forward, 
because they saw men not as men but as servile peasants. Their 
wisdom was reduced to the cunning of the marketplace; their 
strength became only an unbending stubbornness. 

The greatest indictment of these men is their sheer inability to 
govern, to give leadership. With the victory over Japan and the 
return of the Kuomintang to the coast the old governing group 
was given its last opportunity to purge and cleanse itself. The 
advance guards of the Nationalist armies and government were 
greeted in Shanghai and Canton with flags and parades, with all 
the festivity of a carnival. Within six months of their re-establish- 
ment they had succeeded in alienating from themselves not only 
the broad masses of the undernourished and underprivileged, but 
even the sturdy, active business groups who ten years before had 
been their great reservoir of strength. 

It is an axiom that the last attribute to wither in any governing 
group is its ability to exploit, to oppress, to misgovern. The Kuo- 
mintang returned to the coast only to prove the axiom. In an 
atmosphere of seething inflation and moral decay the officials of 
Chungking returned to fatten on the cities and provinces they had 
liberated. With a feeling of nausea the people of Shanghai watched 
the government they had welcomed back sell licences, sell 
privileges, mismanage foreign relief supplies, condone hoarding. 
They watched the printing presses spin off reel after reel of 
worthless money while prices soared and bureaucrats danced at 
night clubs and wined at fine hotels. Shanghai's labour organi- 
zations watched the Kuomintang hold its first general meeting 
of labour at a dance club within the first week after victory, saw 
the old opium rackets flourish again under the guidance of some 
*88 



of the Kuomintang's most powerful men. They had watched the 
government retreat, bleeding but glorious, from Shanghai in 
I937> to be replaced by the Japanese and the traitors of the 
puppet army; now the same government returned to accept some 
of the most odious of the traitors back into its fold. 

Superficially it seems difficult to reconcile the extravagance and 
debauchery of the Kuomintang's machine with the stern and 
puritan fibre of Chiang K'ai-shek. Yet the power of this machine 
over the rank and file of the party membership was confirmed by 
Chiang personally at the party congress of 1945. The brutality 
and extortion of the visible bureaucracy at the coast is only the 
image of the brutalities and extortions that have existed in 
the villages of the interior for generations. The old system in the 
villages is condoned by traditional practice and glossed over by 
the timeless Chinese graces; the gentry of the villages who form 
the great base of Kuomintang support are represented above all 
by Chiang K'ai-shek. Accepting their support and clothing him- 
self in their morality, Chiang must go along, as if against his will, 
with their urban counterparts the machine bureaucrats who are 
destroying his support in the great metropoles. The sentence of 
judgment passed on Chiang by a wise American statesman is a 
sentence on the entire dominant Kuomintang machine: " Chiang 
K'ai-shek," said he, "is trying to fight an idea with force; he 
doesn't understand the idea and doesn't know how to use force." 

It is an historical paradox, therefore, to say that the greatest 
single personality in the equation of peace and war in China is 
Chiang K'ai-shek. The men of the Kuomintang right wing give 
trust and confidence to no leader but Chiang; if they are to be 
persuaded, committed, or forced to progressive action, only 
Chiang K'ai-shek can do it. He alone can assure his feudal retinue 
that in giving up their ancient privileges they will not be entirely 
liquidated in the new state. Only he can guarantee them a fraction 
of their former dignity. And even the Communists recognize that 
Chiang's co-operation is indispensable if there is to be even the 
briefest of truces. 

Between the extreme right of the Kuomintang and the dis- 
ciplined Chinese Communists on the left stands a mass that seeks 
a middle way. It includes the Kuomintang moderates, the 
intellectuals, and non-partisan liberals, the splinter groups of the 
Democratic League. A huge proportion of the Kuomintang rank 
and file belong to this group, as do most thinking people in China. 

989 



This middle group, whose members are the sincerest friends of 
America, is surest of being wiped out in civil war. If true peace 
could last for a generation these men might eventually form the 
majority of the new administration; certainly they would 
dominate the thought of its press, literature, and stage. This is 
the group that wants peace and will labour for it. If the men of 
the middle group were well organized, they could guarantee 
peace. But they are not. They lack an army, a political machine, 
roots in any social class. Only the spread of education and 
industry can create enough men of the modern world to give them 
a broad social base. Their entire future depends on the recon- 
struction of China. 

On the left stands the Communist Party. The Communist Party 
wields power, has struck for power in the past, may attempt to 
strike for absolute power in the future. The Communists now 
insist on having a solid base in North China to protect their 
security and lives. No one knows whether they will use this area 
as a staging ground for their next drive to supreme power. Only 
if the new governnient moves energetically forward to reform can 
the Communist protestation of loyalty be tested. If a new govern- 
ment of China resists change as rigidly as the old, there will be 
unrest, upheaval, bloodshed, and the Communists will make the 
most of the opportunity. 

Only an enduring truce can clarify the Chinese Communist 
Party's real goals. Their leaders have fought from hill caves and 
mountain lairs for twenty years ; they have been too close to the 
people to be unaware of the suffering civil war brings. Up to now 
the Communist Party has shone by comparison with the Kuo- 
mintang. Brilliantly led throughout the war, it found its way to 
power by offering the people not only protection against the 
enemy, but relief from ancient woes. Those who visited Com- 
munist territory escaped from the oppression of the Kuomintang 
into what seemed an area of light. Now the Communists are part 
of the world they must stand examination not by comparisons 
but by achievements. They have been more democratic than the 
Kuomintang; now they must prove whether democracy was a 
means or an end. 

It would be dangerous to judge the Communist Party of 
China by American standards. More than any other Com- 
munist party in the world, they have dealt directly with masses 
of the people in turmoil and agitation in the past twenty years. 
290 



They feel themselves now immeasurably strong, for they are 
riding a huge crest of revolution. They are cold-blooded, ruthless, 
and determined. They would hesitate as little to demand the 
ultimate sacrifice of thousands or even millions of peasants as they 
would to offer their own lives as sacrifice. They play hard politics 
they have cheated and broken agreements; they are bitterly 
intolerant of criticism for they consider themselves always at war. 

There is only one certainty in Communist politics in China: 
the leaders' interests are bound up with those of the masses of 
poverty-stricken, suffering peasants, from whom they have always 
drawn their greatest support. They, and they alone, have given 
effective leadership to the peasant's irresistible longing for justice 
in his daily life. In great areas of North China the Communists 
have established a new way of life, and these areas they will never 
give up, though it cost them their lives and the lives of all their 
supporters. Because the peasants now want peace as well as food, 
the Communists too seek peace. They offer to halt for a period 
the storming drive of discontent and participate in a general 
government with the Kuomintang until the country heals its 
wounds. What Communist policy will be five or ten years hence 
no one can foretell. If the Kuomintang had used the period of 
truce to offer the people the same things offered by the Com- 
munists, it might eventually have evolved into a broad multi-party 
government, with all its members committed to fundamental 
change. Having wasted the truce, nothing can save the Kuo- 
mintang from the next wave of Communist expansion but con- 
tinued unstinted, unquestioning American aid. 

In such a situation the most sensible solution is probably the 
one supported by the middle groups in China a federal union 
with spheres of local and national power strictly marked. The 
national army, they say, must be reduced until it cannot dominate 
the entire physical map of China at one time. Each province must 
be responsible for its own internal security. Each province will 
probably have to possess the same autonomy in education, local 
justice, land taxes, and criminal and civil law as made the 
American union possible. Such a situation would, of course, bring 
about an uneven development in China; some provinces would 
march ahead rapidly and others lag far behind. But China is too 
vast, her communications too poor, her techniques too primitive, 
to achieve the complete centralization that Kuomintang theorists 
have sought in the past. 

291 



Such a union can hang together only if the federal government 
fills the same role it does in America the guarantor of national 
defence against outside aggression, the framer of foreign policy, 
the chief factor in the economic life of the nation. The federal 
government can exist only if groups from all provinces and parties 
participate in its operations. It must further guarantee that within 
each province minority rights will be respected that allparties will 
be free to organize and campaign ; that civil liberties will be granted 
to Kuomintang members in Communist territory, to Communists 
in Kuomintang territory, and to the mass of people everywhere. 

The creation of such a union is extremely difficult. Each side 
has great contempt for the other. The Communists believe the 
Kuomintang is strong only because of America; the Kuomintang 
believes the Communists are strong only because of Russia. But 
without outside intervention, both sides are almost evenly 
matched. In a civil war Chiang, with his legacy of American arms 
and equipment, can take highways, railways, and cities. The Com- 
munists, with the support of the peasants, can hold the countryside, 
and strife must be long drawn out and incalculably costly. 

Any truce, any agreement, any union reached in China must 
sink its foundations into the quicksands of suspicion and distrust. 
Each party expects the other to betray any compact arrived at. 
Both are trigger-happy; no normal agreement can persist against 
the corrosion of mutual ill-faith. 

If China were an island continent, embarking in isolation on a 
new adventure in change after a generation of bloodshed, there 
would be every reasonable hope that unity and co-operation 
would outweigh disunity and civil war. The Chinese are a sensible 
people. They want peace. China is utterly exhausted the men, 
the animals, the machines, the land itself. There are few buffaloes 
to plough the paddies, little food to feed the hungry, little shelter, 
little clothing, little warmth. There are hundreds of thousands of 
soldiers straggling home who want never to march again, who 
crave rest above all things. Left alone, the Chinese people would 
in time find peace in their own way. 

But China lives today in a turbulent world. The common man's 
hope of peace is menaced from without as well as within. She is 
flanked to the north by the world's greatest land power, to the 
east by the world's greatest sea and air power. The mutual fears, 
suspicions, and rivalries of the Soviet Union and the United 

292 



States meet in China in their most aggravated and dangerous 
form, and this foreign rivalry is more than half the threat to 
Chinese peace and unity. 

It is interesting to trace the growth of China's dilemma over the 
course of the past few generations. For half a century the world 
has fretted about the " China problem "; statesmen of great 
powers have spent decades of their lives pondering China's role 
in their imperial plans. From a Chinese point of view the problem 
is different: What can China do about the world? What can she 
do about the aggression of her neighbours? China cannot plan 
and cannot hope until she lives in a world that treats her as an 
equal, not a subject. For a millennium, China was the greatest 
power in the Pacific and East Asia so powerful that she became 
soft. The predatory nations of Europe found her so easy to dis- 
member that they parcelled her off into spheres of influence and 
proceeded to strip her of all dignity. China was everyone's colony 
and no one's responsibility. The rivalry of the great powers was 
finally regularized at the turn of the century by America's Open 
Door policy. This meant simply that China was "open" to every- 
one but the Chinese. Even so the Open Door policy was a great 
advance over the earlier imperialism of the European powers. The 
older powers would have carved the goose up into easily digestible 
portions of meat, but the Americans insisted on the integrity of 
the goose so that all might be able toshare her golden eggs. From 
the point of view of the goose this was preferable to dismember- 
ment but still highly unsatisfactory. The First World War and the 
Chinese revolution changed the entire situation in the Far East. 
Czarist Russia, the most brutal of the predatory powers, was now 
finished, as was Germany; England was weak; and revolution 
surged through China herself. America tried to re-establish the 
Open Door policy by a series of conferences and understandings. 
But the vigour had gone out of the policy Japan was on the 
march, and Japan believed that China was a power vacuum that 
she was divinely appointed to fill. From 1931 to 1945, Japan's 
attempt to fill this vacuum dominated the Orient. 

Today a totally new equation exists. For all purposes of history 
the two greatest powers operating in the Orient now are the 
United States and Russia. Both powers recognize that the vacuum 
left by Japan's collapse must be filled by a strong Chinese govern- 
ment, and each of the two is determined that this new government 
shall be at least as friendly to itself as to its rival. If America and 



Russia become sponsors of the two great parties in internal 
Chinese affairs, if they regard the success of their client parties in 
China as the only guarantee of friendship in the new Chinese 
state, then for China this will be stark tragedy. In a sense this war, 
which was fought by the Chinese for unity and nationhood, will 
have become a wasted war. For ourselves as Americans the ac- 
ceptance of such a formula will be no less than disastrous, for by 
its definition we are left as the patrons of the decadent and corrupt, 
and the Russians become the patrons of the vigorous and dynamic. 

There are majestic rhythms in history, moments of high oppor- 
tunity. The war between China and Japan cast up many such 
moments of opportunity. Time and again in 1938, in 1944, in 
1945 there came those great crests of fortune when internal 
peace might have been made by the two Chinese parties. Im- 
perilled by the enemy or under pressure from the people, the two 
parties were forced again and again into truce and fleeting co- 
operation. Each time the opportunity was cast away; each time 
civil war wassealed even more certainly into the future of the nation. 

Of all the opportunities that presented themselves in the course 
of the war the most hopeful was that which followed im- 
mediately on victory over Japan. It was a moment of jubilation 
and hope in which the thundering voice of the people exerted on 
the two great parties a compulsion completely without precedent. 
The disgrace inherent in the waste of this historic moment must be 
shared in equal part by the Chinese parties themselves and by 
American diplomacy. 

Americans must realize now one of the hard facts of Chinese 
politics that in the eyes of millions of the Chinese their civil war 
was made in America. We were the architects of its strategy; we 
flew government troops into Communist territory, we transported 
and supplied Kuomintang armies marching into the Communists' 
Yellow River basin and into the no-man's-land of Manchuria, we 
issued the orders to the Japanese garrisons that made the railway 
lines of the north the spoils of civil war. Our marines were moved 
into North China and remained there to support Chiang's regime 
though fiction succeeded fiction to explain their continued 
presence in noble words. They were there month after month 
"to evacuate Japanese from China", though the Japanese might 
have been evacuated in a fraction of the time by a common-sense 
political agreement with the Communist partisans. When the 
Japanese began to leave and that fiction exploded, they remained 
294 



to counter the Russian troops in Manchuria. When the Russians 
evacuated Manchuria and that fiction too exploded, it was 
announced that the marines were remaining indefinitely merely 
to " guard " supply lines from coal mines to the coast. These 
fictions hold only for the American people themselves; in China 
it is clear to all that the chief duty of our marines there is to - 
preserve, protect, and defend Chiang K'ai-shek's government in 
the northern areas where he is under attack. Both parties in China 
realize this. The Kuomintang knows that its New Army, the 
coastal cities, and the Peking-Tientsin area were all gifts from 
America and that these gifts will continue only so long as it can 
infect America with its own fear and terror of a league of the 
Communists with the Soviet Union. The Communists, too, realize 
it; all North China and Manchuria might have been theirs long 
since had it not been for American intervention, and their bitter- 
ness has grown with each passing month. By that process of 
emotional autointoxication that is characteristic of the Com- 
munists their propaganda has passed again into a phase of violent, 
intemperate denunciation of America and its works. 

For a full year the underlying motive in the policy of both the 
Soviet Union and the United States has been a compound of fear 
and suspicion. Both have tried to build a bulwark across the body 
of China as they have across Europe to protect themselves and 
what they regard as their interests. Fear is even more dangerous 
than greed as a motive in international diplomacy, and the mutual 
fears of two such huge and powerful states as Russia and America 
have made a mockery of China's sovereignty. The United States 
pursued, under Hurley, a policy that led from blunder to blunder, 
into eventual participation in a civil war. Only after we had 
committed ourselves did we send General Marshall to China with 
instructions to perform the miracle of re-establishing American 
integrity. Out of fear of the United States the Soviet Union 
blundered on from the questionable Sino-Soviet pact to the final 
looting of Manchuria. In Manchuria the policies of the two great 
powers came to fruit in the blood and death of thousands of 
Chinese citizens. 

America's interest in China is very simple. It is the same as our 
interest everywhere else in the world; it is peace. In thinking 
about peace it is vital for Americans to distinguish between peace 
and stability it is stability we have been pursuing up and down 
the frontiers of Asia and Eastern Europe. We have been seeking to 

295 



re-establish as much of the old order as our diplomacy could 
achieve, and our allies everywhere have been those who have 
profited most by the old order. We have been trapped by 
legalities, legitimacies, and such dubious phrases as law and order. 
In China, for too long, we have sought an evanescent stability 
where the Chinese people themselves wanted change; as long as 
we marshalled ourselves against that change and supported all 
those who opposed it, we were leading the Chinese people and the 
world towards a situation where violence was inescapable. 

Asia today regards America as the last great bastion of reaction, 
a nation that speaks of freedom but in the ultimate analysis always 
aligns itself on the side of the status quo. Even for the most con- 
servative of Americans a conservative foreign policy is unrealistic; 
as between stability and change, change must win. American 
loans, American troops, the constant invocation of the word 
democracy, may delay this change. But eventually agents of change 
must creep into the peasant's village and tell him there is another 
system, a system by which the masters are wiped out and the 
land divided, a system in which village elders no longer rule, but 
the peasants decide their own fate. Liberty is a glistening word of 
many faces, and the peasant will believe that that system is best 
and offers the most liberty which gives him the quickest solution 
to the troubles of his daily life. He will vote for it, fight for it, die 
for it. If we move to halt this tide, we are lost. Not all our powers 
can do more than preserve a brief and somewhat ignoble isolation. 

China is the most advanced politically of all the Asiatic nations. 
What will be happening in the rest of Asia tomorrow is being 
worked out in blood in China today. For a century, white men 
have looked down on the peoples of Asia, classifying them in the 
status of second-class human beings; the historic trend in each of 
these countries has been for all the people, rich and poor alike, 
to join in driving the white men from their positions of power. In 
each of these countries the conflict between the white man and the 
subject peoples has only paralleled a second struggle, the struggle 
between the rich and the poor, between the landed and the land- 
less. This is a struggle between those advanced groups who wish 
to throw out the foreigner in order to occupy the positions of 
advantage he has built in the country and those backward, un- 
happy groups who wish to throw the foreigner out in order to 
destroy all positions of advantage and exploitation that oppress 
the common people. China today has almost succeeded in freeing 
296 



herself from the yoke of the foreigner; she is now entering the 
second phase of her struggle, the struggle within herself. She 
stands one step ahead of the rest of Asia ; India, the Indonesians, 
the Annamites, fight now to free themselves from the white man, 
a fight that China has already won. Tomorrow the peasants of 
those countries will be fighting against their own native over*- 
lords for a share in the new freedom that the struggle of all has 
bought. 

Since it is impossible to halt the revolution going on in China 
and in Asia, a realistic foreign policy for America should attempt 
to establish three goals: 

1 . That this revolution, when successful, should regard America 
as a friendly state. 

2. That it should be achieved with a minimum of violence and 
bloodshed. 

3. That it should preserve within itself always the right of 
minority groups to speak, to protest, to act under law and that 
it should permit the great outer world to observe, to witness, 
and to report what it does. 

These should be our goals. But the policies America may 
pursue at the present moment are limited in number. 

We cannot pursue the policy that prevailed during most of 
1945, the policy that led to the direct intervention of our marines 
in a Chinese civil war. This policy is unconditional support of 
Chiang K'ai-shek. There is no doubt that Chiang K'ai-shek has 
been a valuable ally, but the Chinese people as a whole are more 
important to us than the personality of a single individual; what 
they want, not what he wants, is important. 

This policy might have led, and still may lead, to either one of 
two results. One might be the division of China; in South China 
there may be an alliance of the Kuomintang and the U.S.A., in 
North China an alliance of the Communists and Russia. This 
would mean that neither half of China is free, and friction would 
grow in an annual crescendo to the end result of war. The second 
result of this policy might be total victory of the Kuomintang. 
Chiang K'ai-shek, supreme with American surplus war equip- 
ment, his army staffed by our combat personnel, might be able 
to establish his rule over most of rural China, the main cities, 
and the major arteries of communication. A China ruled entirely 
by the Kuomintang dictatorship (and this, after all, was what 

297 



our policy sought all through 1945) would be an historical mon- 
strosity. For a period there would be flourishing industry; rail- 
ways would be built; factories would rise. But the peasants in the 
village would rot; their tensions would accumulate; their sons 
would be marshalled into the army. Having no outlet for domes- 
tic tensions except by revolution, which had been made incon- 
ceivable, this state would become, as Japan's did, a menace to 
all the Orient, eventually to all the world. Like Japan, it would 
possess all the skill and techniques of modern science, and these 
skills would be under the direction of men whose thoughts were 
still rooted in the barbarism of feudal antiquity. 

There is a second policy we might pursue an isolationist 
policy. We can shrug our shoulders and say, " The hell with it! " 
But if we pull out of China, our fears and our past deeds will , 
come home to disturb our quiet. There is no possibility of Chiang 
K'ai-shek surviving even for the briefest moment if in the future 
the Communists are backed from Moscow. If we withdraw 
unilaterally, then in ten years all China may be under Com- 
munist control and in measurable years to come, all Asia. 
This would not be a terrifying prospect if our relations with 
China were to begin then with a fresh slate. But there can be no 
fresh slate, for our tortuous diplomacy has already earned the 
bitterness and enmity of the Chinese Communist Party; it will 
be a long time before they return to the friendliness of 1944. 
We may exist for decades before this hostility abates but we 
will live in a state of armed watchfulness. 

The only practical policy for us to pursue is a third; the 
encouragement of a multi-party government in China that will 
be a vehicle for the changes the land needs. It means that many 
men of the Kuomintang whom we now regard as friends must 
be dropped; it means that to re-establish our nonpartisan status, 
American intervention must cease and American troops must be 
withdrawn. The encouragement of such a multi-party govern- 
ment depends above all on a prior understanding between the 
Soviet Union and the United States of America. We hold the key. 
So long as any party in China feels that there may be an appeal to 
a partisan court outside China that will judge in its favour, the 
really constructive forces of the nation will be hamstrung. 

We must come to an agreement with Russia either by direct 
negotiation or by a conference that includes, along with us, the 
two great parties of China. First we must make clear to the 
298 



Russians that what we want is a China in which the friends of 
Russia will have as large and free a voice as the friends of 
America, that a union of the two parties is as much our object 
as theirs. Second, we must try to have Russia join us in a nega- 
tive agreement that if civil war goes on in China despite our 
most sincere efforts to end it, then a cordon of immunization 
will be maintained by all the world; if civil war continues, 
Russia and we ourselves must pull out lock, stock, and barrel 
from China our troops, our equipment, our financial aid. 

A mutual understanding between Russia and the U.S.A. is only 
the first step in an American policy to peace. The second step is 
the unstinted, unsparing use of American economic strength. 
Economic aid from America can be useful only if it has one 
overriding condition that it be granted a government in which 
Kuomintang, Communists, and Democrats all participate. 
Civil war can be ended permanently in China only by beginning 
on the physical and social reconstruction of the nation. China 
cannot rebuild in our time without our aid. Our resources, our 
technical skill, our material, can mean a difference of twenty 
years in her development, can mean that millions who may die 
of hunger will live to maturity. Both the Kuomintang and the 
Communists realize how terribly China needs American aid; 
both are willing to moderate their demands very significantly 
to have this aid in the future. Such a policy of economic aid is 
not charity. If by a loan to China we can buy the peace, it is a 
cheap price; furthermore, a loan to China will be in the profit- 
able tradition of American enterprise. Once the valleys are opened, 
once communications tap the market of four to five hundred and 
fifty million people who will soon pant for new things, a vast 
and limitless market for goods will be spread before our factories. 

Once the process of reconstruction is set under way, America 
and Russia must agree to stand aside politically. There will be 
name-calling and bitterness in China for decades; when the 
programme of change begins to touch the peasant and alter his 
status, there will be sporadic unrest. This will be healthy unrest 
and must be expected; we must not allow any casual outcry to 
alarm us into a belief that freedom is being assailed. A great 
and superficial quiet in China would be alarming; the shrieks 
and countercharges of two political parties, each able to express 
itself freely throughout the land, may be one index of progress. 

899 



There remains a last question. Suppose we cannot get Russian 
agreement either to a hands-off policy or to an affirmative 
policy of co-operation, what then do we do? 

We must match the dynamic of Russian foreign policy with an 
equally vigorous dynamic of our own. Our programme cannot 
be the type of programme we have pursued in the past or the 
type of programme we are pursuing in Eastern Europe or the 
Near East at the present moment. We cannot defend democracy 
by defending it where democracy does not exist. We cannot 
defend a system of oppression, feudalism, and corruption any- 
where in the world and tell people we are doing so in defence of 
their democratic rights. No peasant, be he Chinese, Iranian, or 
Indian, will believe that the system that makes him a bondslave 
to hunger is democratic or free. 

We ourselves must become the sponsors of revolution. Our 
policy must offer the masses of Asia the same things that Russian 
revolution promises them bread and equality in their daily life. 
But we can offer them more than that, for we are nourished by 
a tradition of an eatlier revolution, a revolution that promised 
the world not only equality and security but liberty. We can 
offer not only bread and land in the future but bread now, in the 
present, from the granaries of our surplus. The allies we seek 
must be those governments that promise and give their people 
what they need and want; we cannot have strong allies or a 
strong policy if our Allies block the desires of their own people 
or if we ourselves remain obdurate to the misery of millions. 

To adopt the concept of change as our course in Asia is not 
only in the best interests of Asia but in the best interests of 
America. If we proceed on such a course, we will not clash with 
Russia; we can parallel her or outstrip her in winning the affec- 
tion of new peoples; we cannot menace her by such a policy, 
nor can she menace us. If we proceed on such a course, the new 
world that is being born in Asia must inevitably become a 
friendly world. To try to frustrate or delay the birth of this new 
world is not only wicked but perilous; it might well result some 
day in the melancholy verdict that ours was an age in which 
men died that peace 'might come and no peace came, or 
came too late. 



300 



INDEX 



Air Bases, 137, 147, 158, 171-2, 173-4, 
1 8 1-4 

Air Transport Command (A.T.C.), 
144-5, 149, 182-3, 262 

American Soldiers, 152-8 

American Volunteer Group, 147 

Army, 48,67, 7o,73~4, 77-8,128-40,176- 
7, 235, 261-2, 263; Corruption, 135, 
167, 176, 180-1, 211 ; and America, 
105-6,128,131-3,136-7,143,150,204, 
207, 209-10, 244-5, 275 ; and Kuomin- 
tang, 97-8, 101, 104-6, 235-6, 252-3 

Arnold, General H. H., 145 

Asia, 29, 85-6, 91, 149-50, 228, 234, 
269-70, 296-8, 300 

Atlantic Charter, 90 

Auchinleck, Sir Claude, 144 

Barrett, Col. David, 227, 237 
Barrow, Graham, 178-9 
Belden, Jack, 89** 

Blockade, 74, 137, 145, 149, 150, 153, 
172, 243 ; of Communists, 105-6, 135, 

176, 188, 189, 195, 201, 205, 209, 2H, 
213, 215-16, 241 

Bldcher, Vassily, 44*1 
Borodin, Michael, 44 
British, 81-2, 84, 88, 90-6, no, 127, 

144-6, 152-3. See also England 
Burma, 89-91, 96-7, 131-2, 144-8, 150, 

152-3, 172, 203-5, 208, 211, 242-3, 

262; Road, 74, 8o~i, 125, 132, 137, 

147, 149, 2li, 243, 245 

Cairo Conference, 152, 244, 268 

Calcutta, 90, 96, 140 

Canton, 20, 26, 58-9, 75, 80, 126, 131, 

177, 261-2, 275, 288; Capital, 44, 
46, 101, 118-9; Communists in, 
189-90, 201, 214* 

Censorship, 27, 98, 109-10, 124, 127, 171, 

205, 218-19, 233, 237, 242, 246, 255, 270 
Central Bank, 49, no, 113 
Central Broadcasting System, 23 
Central Clique (C.C.), right wing of 

Kuomintang, 100, 102-3, 106-7, 

251-2, 258, 287-9 
Central Executive Committee (C.E.C.), 

99, 103, 274 

Central Planning Board, 122 
Chahar, 267 

Chang Fa-kwei, 173, 176, 181, 184, 207 
Chang Tao-f an, 113 
Changchow, 161-2, 166, 168 
Changchun, 266, 274 
Changsha, 63, 73, *73, *75, 241 
Changtu, 15-17, 39, 64, 256-7 
Chekiang, 44, 72, 116-17 
Ch'en Ch'eng, xox, 105-6, 138, 246, 353, 

257 



Ch'en Chi-mei, 106, 118 

Ch'en Kus-fu, 100 

Ch'en Li-fu, 100, 102, 104, 106-11, 

112-14,205 
Chennault, Gen. Claire, 22, 144, 147^-9 

156, 181, 209 

Chiang K'ai-shek, 41, 50, 97, 116-28, 
145, 216-17, 224, 239-40, 265, 274, 
278-9, 288-91 ; pre-war career, 14-15, 
44-53, 106-7, 117-20; favourites and 
opponents, 24, 157, 169, 173, 187, 
247-9 ; and America, 501, 102, 202, 
204, 205-6, 212, 227-8, 237, 240, 
241, 260-3, 268-70, 294-5, 297-8; 
and army, 48, 73, 104-7, 132, 134-5, 
175-6, 180, 184-5, 245 ; and Com- 
munists, 46-7, 50-3, 54-5, 77-9, 98, 
124-6, 187-8, 191, 200, 205, 267-8, 
2 7 4-6; and economics, 109,113-15, 123, 
1 54J government, 17,97-8,100-1,103- 
15, 121-2, 125, 154 ; and Hurley, 206- 
7, 208-9, 231, 232-3, 234-5, 238-9; 
and reform, 125-6, 177-8, 211, 246, 
249-53, 25 5; in war, 20, 52, 53-4, 56-8, 
141, 145, 146-7, 149-50, 152-3, 171, 
172-3, 198-9; quoted, 117-18 
Chiang, Mine., 110-12, 1201, 123, 141 

177-8, 209 

Chiang Ting-wen, 169 
China Air Force, 147 
China-Burma-India Theatre (C.B.I.). 

140-2, 144-51, 212-3 
China's Destiny (Chiang), 123, 278, 279 
Chinese National Airline, 26, 154 
Chinese Republic, 118, 123, 143 
Chinese Turkestan, 10 
Chou En-lai, 78, 128, 141, 217, 238-9 
Chu Chia-hwa, 251 ; clique, 102 
Chu Teh, 195, 215, 217, 260 
Chuanhsien pass, 180-1 
Chungking, 13-28, 61, 64, 99, 111-12, 
1 20-1, 138, 213, 254-5, 286; Ameri- 
cans in, 121, 153, 206^-7, 228-9, 233-4 
244, 249-50; bombings, 20-5; and 
Communists, 76-9, 200-1, 215-9, 
236-7, 238-9, 266, 269; and Honan 
situation, 159, 165-7, 169-70, 171; 
morale, 74-5, 126-7, 202, 205, 215; 
and war, 65, 73-4, *o6, 129, *32, 
135-7, 176-80, 184-8, 242-3, 249-51, 
259-^0 

Churchill, Winstbn, 146, 149 
Chuting, 176 

Civil War, 50-1, 117, 120-1, 192, 200-1, 
206, 233-5, 241-2, 244, 247-8, 253, 
260-76, 277-8, 292-9 
Clark-Kerr, Sir Archibald, 125 
Coast, 38, 41, 39, 72, 75, W, 195, 201, 
340-1, 261-2, 283 

301 



Comintern, 221, 224 

Communiques, 65-6 

Communists, 41, 188-202, 213-28, 
257-8; and America, 198-9, 203-4, 
209, 220-1, 226-8, 237, 240-2, 272-3, 
294; Army, 188, 189, 194-200, 207, 
214, 236-7, 238-9 ; expansion, 55, 65, 
75-7, 188-9, 199, 241-2; and future, 
283-5, 287, 289-92, 299 ; and govern- 
ment, 58, 101, 107, no, 139, 158, 
171, 205, 207, 231, 245 J negotiations, 
200-1, 234-40, 260-1, 266-9, 272-6, 
286-92, 299-300; and Russia, 46-7, 
51, 217, 220, 223-8, 269-72 

Conscription, 128-9, 255-8 

Cripps, Sir Stafford, 91-2, 94-5 

Gushing, Caleb, 228 

Dajren, 271 

Delhi, 95-6, 158-9 

Democracy, 98, 128, 142-3,192,218-20, 

223, 226, 227, 235, 241, 250, 252, 290, 

296, 300 
Democratic League, 258, 273, 275, 289, 

Dutch, 80-2, 84-5 . See also Netherlands 

East China Campaign, 158, 171-88, 

199, 2ii, 242 

Education, 62-5, 107-10, 134, 281-2 
Eighth Route Army, 55, "67, 77, 190, 

195-7, 198, 260 
England, 80-1, 126, 293. See also 

British 

Executions, 181, 257 
Executive Yuan, 98, 112, I22, 236, 246 

Fei Rung, 255 

Flying Tigers, 147 

Forman, Harrison, 159 

Formosa, 57 

Fourteenth Air Force, 141, 144, 148, 

154, 157-8, 17I-3, 177, 185, 262n 
Fukien, 128 
Fuping, 56 

Galen, 44 

Gandhi, Mahatma, 93, 95, 141 

Gauss, Clarence, 202, 205-6, 210, 212, 
226, 228-30, 232, 240, 270 

Germany, 48, 51, 80-1, 145, 225, 226, 
270, 293 

Gleason, Major Frank, 186 

Government, 48-50, 71, 97-115, 149, 
158-9, 164-9, 235, 282-4 ; coalition or 
new, 201-2, 206, 223, 235-6, 238, 240, 
258, 286, 289-93, 298 ; opposition to, 
157,257-8 ; and peasants, 2 8, 32-3, 37, 
39, 284 ; and war, 67, 173, 180, 187-8, 
199, 201 ; and war lords, 54, 65. See 
also negotiations under Communists 

Great Wall, 51, 54, 67, 189, 241, 260, 
264, 279 

Green Gang, 118-19 

Guerrillas, 54-6, 67, 189, 196-9, 240-2, 
260, 264, 275 

302 



Hainan, 190 

Hangshow Bay, 241 

Hankow, 17, 20, 22, 45-6, 58-9, 61-2, 

171, 173. 187, 189, 214, 263 
Harbin, 274 

Hardin, General Tom, 149 
Hengyang, 177, 179 
Hill, Colonel David, 156-7 
Ho Ying-ch'in, 101-2, 104-6, 112, 114, 

144, 176, 203, 205, 212, 242, 246, 251, 

Hochih, 187 

Hokkaido, 83 

Honan, 164-5, 167, 188, 189 ; campaign, 

169-70, 172-3, 188; famine, 159-70; 

rebellion, 170-1, 176, 200 
Hongkong, 26, 87, 90, 157 
Honshu. 172 

Hopei, 188, 197, 263, 267 
Hopkins, Harry, 210 
Hsiang River, 173, 177 
Hsinkou, 56 
Hsueh Yueh, 73, 173-8 
Hu Tsung-nan, 101, 105 
Huang Chen, 241 
Hump, 148-9, 154, 156, 158, 182-3, 205, 

245 

Hunan, 77, 173, 176, 188, 241, 280 
Hundred Regiments' Battle, 189 
Hupeh, 56, 128, 139, 165, 189 
Hurley, Patrick J., 121, 187, 206-12, 

228-40, 244, 268-70, 272, 295 

India, 90-7, 144-5, 150, 153, 182, 242-3, 
297 

Indies, 81-4, 89, 149. See also Nether- 
lands Indies 

Indo-China, 75, 80-3, 125, 172, 187, 
190, 261 

Industry and Resources, 38, 59-62, 102, 
271-2, 278-85 

Inflation, 25, 72, 79, no, 114-15, 123, 
135, 205, 254, 288-9 

Japan, 50, 79-83, 9*, 105, 287, 298; 
and Communists, 52, 189, 190, 198-9, 
241; and Russia, 147, 220, 225, 260, 
264-5, 270-1; and United States, 8 1-6, 
97, 141, 147, 152, 189-90, 227, 240-1, 
261-2 ; at war, 14, 20, 53-4, 56, 58-9, 
73, 85-8, 122-3, 125-6, 128-9, 135, 
137, 146-7, 157, 175, 194, 245, 271-2 ; 
defeated, 260-6, 268-9, 270-1, 288, 

293-4 
Jehol, 672 

Kalgan, 264 

Kansu, 128, 136 

Karachi, 144 

Kashgar, 279 

Kiangsu, 72, 189 

Ku Chu-tung, 73, 242 

Kung, H. H., 104, 110-15, 205, 210, 248 

Kung, Mme., no, 112 

Kunming, 64, 132, 150, i54~6, 182, 275 



Kuomintang, 40-53, 92-3, 97~H5, "9, 

235, 277; and American aid, 200-1, 
225-6, 246, 263, 264-7, 269-73, 274, 
288, 291, 294-5, 297-8; early split 
with Communists, 46-7, 214, 221, 
224, 235 ; and Communists, 43, 44-5, 
79, 204, 216-17, 219-20, 222-3, 233, 

236, 238, 239-42, 245, 260, 274-5, 
286 ; demoralized, 200, 288 ; and the 
future, 283, 287-92, 299; and peasants 
49, 72, 166-7, 191, 192, 200, 285; 
and reform, 226, 249-53,258-9, 273, 
275; and Russia, 99, 225. See also 
National Congress 

Kwangchowan, 261-2 
Kwangsi, 132, 180, 185 
Kweichow, 104, 128, 177, 187, 246 
Kweilin, 152, 157, 173, *77, 181-4; 
campaign, 184-8 

Land, 30, 35-9, 49, 72, 108, 125, 166-7, 

192-3, 203, 221-2, 267, 284 
League of Nations, 54, 79-8o 
Legislative Yuan, 98, 103 
Lend-Lease, 205, 208-9, 238 
Li Tsung-jen, 138 
Liangtang, 181 
Lihsien, 139 
Lim, Dr. Robert, 134 
LiuHsiang, 14-15 
Liu Hsiao-ch'i, 217 
Linchow, 173, 180, 185-7 
Long March, 51, 126, 216, 224, 228 
Loyang, 161, 169-70 
Lu, Dr. Richard, 134 
Lung Yun, 141, 154 
Lunghai, 67 

Ma Yin-ch'u, 109 

MacArthur, General Douglas, 85, 87, 

209, 261 

McClure, Gen. Robert, 232 
Malaya, 83-4, 87-90, 96, 146 
Manchuria, 44**, 51, 172, 189-90, 204, 

214, 260-1, 264-6, 268, 270-1, 274-5, 

280, 294-5 
Manchus, 14, 40-4, 62, 105, 118, 135, 

228, 278 
Mandalay, 124 
Mao Tse-tung, 120, 214-7, 220-4, 226, 

231, 235, 237-8, 266, 269 ; quoted, 224 
Marco Polo Bridge, 53 
Marshall, General George, 2 1 0,272-6,295 
Megan, Thomas, 161 
Merrill, General Frank, 148 
Merrill's Marauders, 148, 152 
Missionaries, 161, 163 
Mongolia, 20, 80, 140, 260 
Moscow, 45, 47, 51, 1x9, 224-5, 270 
Mountbatten, Lord Louis, 141, 144, 244 
Mukden, 266 
Myitkyina, 153, *59 

Nanking, 45, 48, 54, 57-9, 137, 192, 

2OI, 225, 241, 262-3 

Nankow Pass, 54 



Nan tan Pass, 185 

National Assembly, 250, 253, 257, 266, 

276 
National Central University, 63, 122*, 

124 

National Congress, 99, 250-2 
National Military Council, 58, 105, 112, 

122,236 

National Resources Commission, 115 
Nationalist Revolution, 50, 52, 119, 127" 
Nehru, Jawaharlal, 93, 95, 141 ; quoted, 

93-5 

Nelson, Donald, 206-7 
Netherlands the, 80-1. See also Dutch 
Netherlands Indies, 80, 86-7. See also 

Indies 

New Army, 245-6, 261, 294 
New Fourth Army, 58, 77, 195-6, 198, 

260, 264-5; incidents, 77-9, 189, 

199-200, 235-6 
New Life Movement, 121 
Nimitz, Admiral Chester, 172 
Northern March, 45, 50, 1 06 

Office of War Information, 146 
Okamura, General, 199 
Open Door policy, 293 
OSS., 186 
Outer Mongolia, 268, 270 

Pai Chung-hsi, 176 

Paoting Military Academy, 117, 135 

Pearl Harbour, 27, 83, 85, 87, 128, 143, 
147, 149, 204, 223 

Peasants, 28-39, 40-1, 49-50, 98, 126, 
127-8, 142-3, 158, 168; and Com- 
munists, 46, 190-4, 196^-7, 216; in 
war, 69, 71-3, 138-9, 170-1, 179 J and 
future, 279, 284-6, 287, 291 

Peking, 14, 15, 18, 26, 40, 53, 54, 56, 59, 
62, 73, 75, 142, 263, 267-8, 275, 277, 
295 

Philippines, 83-4, 87-8, 92, 209, 230 

Pinghai, 242-3 

Pingkiang,77,24i 

Political Affairs Committee, 239 

Political Bureau (Communist), 214, 
217-18 

Political Consultation Conference, 273 

Political Science Clique, 102-3, 251 

Port Arthur, 271 

Port Darwin, 90 

Potsdam v 26o 

Puppets, 263, 269 

Revolutions, 39-41, 46, 62, 75-6, 86, 
200, 229, 234-5, 261, 286, 291, 293, 
297, 300 

Roosevelt, Franklin D., 149-50, 206, 
208-11, 229 

Russia, 60- 1, 99, xxo, 217, 255, 283 ; and 
Chiang, 47, 51, 119, 225, 268, 271; and 
Chinese Communists,46-7,223~7, 292, 
295, 297-8 ; revolution, 24, 47, 237 ; 
and Sun Yat-sen, 43-4, 47; and United 
States,2o6,227~8,269-7o,286,293-3oo 

303 



Saipan, 172 

Salween, 106, 131-2, 137, 150, 152-3, 

204, 208, 211, 212, *43, 245 
Saw Min Chu I, 42-3, 52, 221 
San Min Chu I Youth Corps, 108-9, 122 w 
Shanghai, 26, 38, 59, 60-1, 75, 102, 
112, 137 ; battle, 56-7, 60-1, 178 ; and 
Communists, 201, 214, 240-2, 253-4, 
264-5, 267; coup of 1927, 45-7, 
235-6; and Kuomintang, 107, 
118-20, 275, 288-9 
Shansi, 54-5, 67, 7o, 7*1 77, "o, 132, 

189, 264, 267, 280 
Shantung, 189, 263, 266 
Shensi, 51, 63, 75, 77, 79, 160, 165, 188 
Sian, 15, 53, 63, 77, 120, 144, *59, 

166, 170, 195, 225 
Sikang, 126 

Singapore, 88-90, 149-50, 172 
Sinkiang, 225-6, 236, 255, 279 
Sino-Soviet Treaty, 268, 270, 295 
Sliney, General George N., 243 
Smuggling, 74-5 
Soong, T. V., no, 112, 125, 127, 132, 

171, 212, 232, 239, 246-8, 253, 270 
South Seas, 83-97. 172, 189 
South-East Asia Command (S.E.A.C.), 

144, 244 

Stalemate, 71-83, 128, 142, 193 
Stalin, 152 
Stalingrad, 90, 139 
Standing Committee (C.E.C.), 99, 103 
Standing Committee, Kuomintang, 112, 

210 

State Couocil, 98, 122 
Stilwell, General Joseph W., Sgn, 138, 

140-59, 181, 188, 226-8, 242, 245, 

261; aims and strategy of, 150-3, 

172, 240, 270; and Chiang, 124, 
143-4, 149, 202-3, 206-13, 234, 237; 
crisis, 105, 143, 184, 202-13, 243, 275; 
leaves China, 185,228-9,234,244,246 

Stratemeyer, General George, 144 

Stuart, Dr. J. Leighton, 276 

Sun Fo, 127, 171, 239, 251: clique, 102-3 

Sun Li -jen, 138 

Sun Yat-sen, 42-4, 46-7, 52, 97, 102, 

118-9, 127, 154, 221, 239, 278 
Sun Yat-sen, Mme., no 
Supreme National Defence Council, 

98-9, 104, 112, 122, 236, 238-9 
Szechwan, 13-14, 17-20, 26, 62, 63, 121, 

126, 128, 136, 256, 279 

Taierchwang, 58 

Taiyuan, 264 

Tang En-po, 169-70 

Taxes, 36-7, 71-2, 113, 167-8, 248, 285 

Teheran Conference, 152 

Tenth Air Force, 144, 262 

Tibet, 140, 279 

Tientsin, 27, 54, 59, 241, 267-9, 275, 295 

Toio, Hideki, 83 

Tokyo, So, 264 

Tsiang, T. F., 114-5 

304 



Tsing-chih, 139 

Tungkwan, 73 

Tushan, 186 

Twentieth Bomber Command, 144-5 

Unification of China, 47-50 

United States. See Gauss; Hurley; 
Marshall ; Stilwell ; and under Army ; 
Chiang; Communists; Japan; Kuo- 
mintang; Russia 

U.S. Air Corps, 85, 172, 180 

U.S. Army, 114, 122, 131-3, *44~7, 
157-8, 239, 244, 249-50, 262 

U.S. Marine Corps, 269, 275, 294, 297 

U.S. Navy, 140, 152, 172, 262-3 

Universities, 42, 62-5, 108-10, 154 

Versailles, Treaty of, 62, 79 

Vincent, General Clinton, 156, 181, 184 

V-J Day, 27, 114, 199, 276 

Wang Ching-wei, 26, 138 
Wang Shih-chieh, 239, 246, 255 
War, 53-70, 97, 142, 198-9, 293; 

victory. 260-6. See also Burma; 

East China campaign; South Seas; 

Stalemate 
War lords, 14-15, 38-9, 41-4, 48, 51-2, 

65, 73, 125-6, 287 
Wavell, Sir Archibald, 141 
Wedemeyer, General A. C., 122, 185, 

187, 212, 232, 234, 239, 243-6, 259, 

261, 268 

Wei Li-huang, 138 
Western influences, 38-9, 42, 49, 107, 

216, 277, 281 

Whampoa, Academy, 44, 48, 105 
Whampoa clique, 101, 105-6, 169, 251 
Woman's National Salvation Associa- 
tion, 193 

Wong Wen-hao, 60, 66, 115 
Wu, K. C., 24 
Wu Te-chen, 59 

Yalta Conference, 270 

Yangtze River, 13, 15-16, 18, 21, 279; 
Communists on, 50, 75-7, 189-90, 
201, 241-2, 265-6; Kuomintang on, 
45-9, "9, 268, 276; in war, 56, 58-9, 
61, 73-4, 106, 157, 171, 173 

Yeh Chien-ying, 215 

Yellow River, 48, 56, 59, 61-3, 64-5, 
67-8, 132, 170; Communists on, 
75, 77, 189, 195, 201, 264, 265, 
276, 294; in war, 53-5, 73, 105, 188 

Yen Hsi-shan, 264 

Yenan, 51, 75-6, 78, 190, 193, 195, 
204, 213-28, 237, 239, 241, 259-60, 
265, 268, 271 

Young Brothers, 18 

Youth National Salvation Association, 
193 

Yu Han-mou, 173, *77 

Yu Ta-wei, 115 

Yunnan, 17, 64, 73, "6, 132, 136, 
141, 148, 150, X54, 156, 182